LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A woman who said she was groped and sexually harassed while working for a hologram producer and television content streamer in 2014-15 was awarded $8.25 million today.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about a day before finding in favor of 36-year-old Mahim Khan and against Alki David. The jury also determined that the 51-year-old David acted with malice, oppression or fraud, triggering the second phase of the trial set for Monday on whether Khan is entitled to punitive damages.
The tall, slender Khan wept as she heard the verdict. She testified during the trial that she became withdrawn from friends and preferred to stay home in her pajamas because of the months of harassment by David. She also testified she gained 30 pounds, and her attorneys displayed photos of her to show jurors how she looked at the time.
The jury found that David committed battery and sexual battery. The panel also concluded that he and two of his companies, Alki David Productions, and FilmOn TV, subjected Kahn to a hostile work environment.
Judge Michelle Williams Court dismissed a third David entity, Hologram USA Inc., as a defendant in the trial. The punitive damages phase of the trial will only deal with David and not his companies.
Khan’s lawyer, Nathan Goldberg, said the verdict was “substantial” and said he appreciated the jury’s recognition of the impact of David’s conduct on his client.
David was not present for the verdict nor the final arguments in the case. During the trial, he was repeatedly warned by Court to cease his courtroom outbursts, in which he attacked the characters of Khan and her attorneys, who work for the law firm of Gloria Allred.
David’s disregard of court orders led the judge to sharply limit the defense he could present on his own behalf. She also stripped him of his ability to represent himself during the trial.
But Attorney Ellyn Garofalo on behalf of the David companies said Khan provided little evidence through impartial witnesses to support her claims. She said a lot of the emotional distress Khan claims she suffered while working for David may be attributable instead to
nearly 20 years of mental and physical abuse she admitted she suffered at the hands of her conservative Muslim father. Khan’s mother gave her little support in dealing with her father, Garofalo said.
Khan never complained about David until about two months before she quit, Garofalo said.
The Khan verdict came just over a month after 36-year-old Lauren Reeves won more than $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages against David in another sexual harassment case.