From The Community. In The Community. For The Community.

Radford v. BAE Systems – $2.17 Million


On January 10, 2011, after a trial that lasted almost two months, a San Francisco, CA jury awarded $420,000.00 and found defendant BAE Systems aka BAE San Francisco Ship Repair’s conduct towards plaintiff warrants punitive damages – the punitive among was determined after further trial starting January 20. The jury’s verdict totaled $2,170,000. The jury found BAE wrongfully terminated plaintiff and failed to prevent race discrimination. In addition to the damage award, plaintiff will recover significant attorney’s fees and costs as authorized by California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA).

Although plaintiff’s paycheck loss was limited to $60,000 because his own outstanding credentials garnered him a higher paying job after he was fired, the jury awarded him $360,000 for the irreparable human harm and devastation that racism inflicted upon plaintiff which continues.

Other background facts are that plaintiff, a decorated 20-year Air Force veteran who former bosses rated an “exceptional” performer and “a manager’s dream”, was terminated once a new manager – Hugh Vanderspek – in spring 2008 took over the management reins of BAE’s shipyard where plaintiff had worked for three years as its Facilities Superintendent. Within months of Vanderspek’s appointment as yard chief, Plaintiff, the only African American manager, was abruptly terminated. One week before plaintiff’s firing, another employee, the only African American General Foreman at the yard, was himself abruptly demoted. Vanderspek admitted in testimony that despite his 2 decade tenure in the maritime industry, he had never hired an African American manager. Although racially improper conduct permeated and infected BAE’s workplace, testimony revealed that Vanderspek himself referred to an African American employee as “Aunt Jemima” and “fat black girl”, and labeled hardworking black employees as “lazy”. Vanderspek also promoted white managers involved a working hours meeting described as a “vigilante like” mob gathering that demanded to know the identity of an individual who had revealed that plaintiff had been called a racial slur using the “n” word by another BAE supervisor. Vanderspek remains employed by BAE Systems, as the head of its entire San Francisco Ship Yard, and has never been disciplined for his own alleged race based conduct.

Carla V. Minnard, Esq., of the Farrise Law Firm of Walnut Creek, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Santa Barbara, lead the trial effort with firm founder Simona A. Farrise, Esq., LL.M. Defendant BAE Systems was defended at trial by Tyree Jones, Jr., partner Reed Smith, Washington, D.C., and Tracy Thompson, Miller Law Group, San Francisco.

Defendant BAE Systems, the second largest defense contractor in the world, brags that it operates over 5 continents, with customers in more than 100 countries globally, and reporting $22 billion in 2009 sales. Defendant’s settlement offer immediately before closing argument was $50,000.

Other lawsuits on behalf of other African American employees still working at BAE Systems SFSR were filed by The Farrise Law Firm but are not yet set for trial.

Inquiries to Carla Minnard, Farrise Law Firm, P.C. at cminnard@farriselaw.com