A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has awarded $776,000 in compensatory damages to former Price is Right model Brandi Cochran.
The jury verdict came after a trial where Cochran, a former Miss USA, presented the claim of how she was discriminated against by producers FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions after becoming pregnant.
Cochran sued in 2010, when she was terminated from the game show after eight years as a model to hosts Bob Barker and Drew Carey. She wasn't the first model to bring gender discrimination claims against producers. Over the years, other models including Shane Stirling, Dian Parkinson, Holly Hallstrom and Lanisha Cole attempted to hold producers liable for mistreatment without much success.
According to Cochran's lawsuit, she observed the defendants harassing others who had gotten pregnant on the show, and as a result, delayed trying to conceive out of fear of losing her job. After she got pregnant in 2007, she said she didn't tell her co-workers at first because she didn't want to be fired.
Cochran says she finally told producer Kathy Greco in 2008 that she was pregnant, and reported that Greco responded that she wasn't surprised because her bust had become large.
The former Price is Right model alleged that another show producer, Mike Richards, then didn't talk to her as frequently and that he implied to her that she would have been one of the models fired had the pregnancy not been secret. She also said that she was pressured to announce her pregnancy on the air, and when she delivered the news that she was carrying twins, she was given less work. During this time, Cochran also claimed she was subject to jokes in the workplace from colleagues who made fun of her weight gain.
One of the twins died as a result of a miscarriage; the other was born three months premature with pulmonary problems. Cochran says she was extremely stressed after the birth, caring for her newborn's special needs and, at the same time, trying to lose weight to get back to work.
But Cochran alleged that producers sent her mixed signals about whether she would be allowed to return. She later discovered that she had been removed from the show's website and then, fired.
At trial, Richards denied unfavorable treatment to Cochran while Greco testified that models including Stirling were not allowed to work during pregnancy.
Cochran's attorney asked for $8 million in damages, and on Tuesday, got $776,000. According to reports, the jury will next be tasked with figuring out whether the discrimination was malicious, and if so, what amount to award Cochran in punitive damages.
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