LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A jury found that the Los Angeles Clippers did not discriminate against or harass former general manager Elgin Baylor, who claimed he was forced out of the job he held for 22 years.
The jury panel rejected Baylor’s claim of age discrimination and declined to award him any damages.
The verdict was a major victory for the Clippers’ management, which contended that the now-76-year-old Baylor, a former Laker forward, left the team on his own.
Jury foreman John Casani of Pasadena, a long-time official with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, said the panel believed that Baylor was not the victim of “disparate treatment” because of his age. He said any dissatisfaction with the former Laker great by team officials resulted from the long-time abysmal performance of the franchise.
The Clippers’ best record during Baylor’s time at the helm was 47-35 in 2005-06, but during most of the other years, the NBA team finished below .500 and did not make the playoffs.
Baylor’s attorney, Alvin L. Pittman, had asked that his client be awarded about $2 million for past and future lost wages as well as for emotional distress, urging jurors to reject the Clippers’ argument that Baylor left on his own.
Baylor filed suit against the Clippers and the National Basketball Association in Los Angeles in February 2009, alleging race- and age-related discrimination. His attorneys dropped the racism allegation before trial, as well as all allegations against the NBA.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)