Spitzer attorney Chris Cook said he couldn’t discuss the terms of the proposed deal with Dean Okafor because of a confidentiality agreement.
Okafor had accused Spitzer of failing to do anything about harassing comments directed at him by his fellow workers at a Spitzer dealership in Cleveland. He contended that he was targeted because he is black and because of his Nigerian origin, according to court documents.
Okafor was fired in July 2008 for allegedly violating the company’s sexual harassment policy, something Okafor’s lawyers contended was a pretext for his dismissal after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Spitzer.
Spitzer has denied wrongdoing.
Although he wouldn’t comment on what Okafor would receive under the settlement, Cook said that Okafor’s attorneys have agreed to withdraw their request for sanctions against Spitzer and its lawyers for documents that Spitzer had been ordered to turn over earlier, but didn’t produce until after the case went to trial earlier this year.
U.S. District Judge John R. Adams declared a mistrial in January because of his concerns over the late production of the documents, including portions of personnel files and notes taken by Spitzer general counsel Anthony Giardini.
Adams ordered Spitzer and its attorneys to pay legal fees to the lawyers for the various plaintiffs in the case totaling $328,335, including $148,920 that was ordered to be paid to Okafor’s lawyers.
Cook said Adams’ order required Spitzer and its lawyers to pay attorneys’ fees for the other plaintiffs, Hakim Nuriddin and the EEOC, which has alleged that two other Spitzer workers were subjected to harassment based on their national origins.
The EEOC is to receive $49,000 for legal fees, while Nuridden’s lawyers are supposed to get $130,415 under the terms of the order.
Cook said that there were discussions about possible settlements with attorneys for the EEOC and Nuriddin during a conference Wednesday. Although no agreements were reached, Cook said that remains a possibility.
“We’re keeping the door open to further discussions,” he said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.