A jury will consider the merits of a wrongful-termination lawsuit
filed by a Burbank city employee after attorneys on both sides
delivered closing arguments this week.
Deborah McMurray, 57, a revenue clerk in the city’s Park,
Recreation and Community Services Department, sued the city in March
2001, alleging age and gender discrimination. According to her
attorney, Brad Gage, McMurray was subjected to a hostile work
environment when she complained about the treatment.
McMurray, who has been on medical leave since filing the lawsuit,
is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Four other city employees represented by Gage also sued the city
for discrimination, but settled their cases out of court in March.
McMurray was offered $1,000, but declined to settle.
Gage, who used a timeline in court this week to chronicle the
city’s alleged pattern of discrimination against McMurray, questioned
whether his client’s accusations of discrimination were properly
“There are two possibilities -- either [the defense lawyers] lied
about the investigation, or there was discrimination so they
concealed it from the jury,” Gage said. “Without an investigation,
there is no corrective action. And without corrective action,
Irma Rodriquez Moisa, the attorney representing the city of
Burbank, contends that McMurray was upset because she had to compete
for new jobs instead of being promoted without having to apply. When
she was passed over for other candidates, Moisa continued, McMurray
accused the city of discrimination instead of “recognizing her own
Moisa further refuted allegations of discrimination by pointing
out that City Manager Mary Alvord is a woman over the age of 40, and
that former City Manager Bud Ovrom had a reputation for promoting
women within city offices.
“Mrs. McMurray’s allegations were exaggerated, fabricated and
misleading,” Moisa said. “She turned a lot of mole hills into
Opening statements in the trial began Oct. 10. Gage and Moisa
expect the jury deliberation to begin Monday and last anywhere from
two to five days.
Earlier this year, Gage represented three female Glendale Police
Officers who sued the city for sexual harassment and won a combined
$3.5-million jury award. Moisa represented the city of Glendale in