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Music Conductor Wins $767K Jury Award In Pregnancy-Discrimination Case

LOS ANGELES ( — A jury awarded $120,000 in punitive damages to a music conductor who claimed she was fired by a concert promoter-producer because she complained of pregnancy discrimination, bringing her total award to $767,000.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about a half hour before reaching its verdict in the second phase of Eimear Noone's lawsuit against Jason Michael Paul Productions.

Her lead attorney, Douglas Silverstein, had recommended a punitive damages award of $1.5 million, arguing that JMPP founder Jason Michael Paul's absence from Friday's proceedings showed no remorse for the treatment of Noone.

On Thursday, the jury had awarded Noone $647,000 in compensatory damages and found the company acted with malice, oppression or fraud, triggering the punitive damages phase of the trial.

Noone maintained she was fired in the summer of 2013 after complaining to Paul that she was mistreated after she became pregnant for the second time while working for him as the conductor in the symphony production of "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses."

Attorney Brett Bitzer, on behalf of JMPP, said that Noone was fired because she had joined others to form a competing symphony. He told jurors they had sent a message to Paul with their earlier verdict, and that an award of punitive damages was unnecessary.

Noone's first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. She said that during her second pregnancy, she asked the show's producers if they could shorten their unscripted comments or let her sit on a stool during their routine practice of addressing audiences during performances.

According to Noone, they did not grant her requests during two shows in June and July 2013, even though she made multiple inquiries about such accommodations. She gave birth later that year to a son.

Noone, 38, began working in 2011 on "Zelda," which featured visual effects of the popular video game with accompaniment by an orchestra. The production was booked in concert halls nationwide and in some international sites.

(©2016 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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