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Black Woman Wins Judgment in Discrimination Case

When Rose Wakefield pulled into a gas station in a Portland suburb to purchase some gas nearly three years ago, she left feeling that she had been racially discriminated against. In late-January, 2023, a jury agreed in her favor. After successfully suing the corporations involved, Wakefield was awarded one million dollars in damages.

The damages were so high because the behavior Wakefield encountered was so egregious. This was not only from the gas station attendant who refused to pump her gas because he said he doesn’t serve Black people, but also from the representatives at the corporate complaint line who failed to take her report seriously.

During closing arguments, Wakefield’s attorney Greg Kafoury convinced the jury that a large judgment would force the corporate defendants to explain their failure to respond appropriately. This included failing to record Wakefield’s initial phone call (and subsequently deleting a follow up voicemail), and doctoring the employee personnel file to make it appear as though he was fired for different, unrelated conduct.

Her attorney added, “A cop who erased evidence would go to jail for it.”

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