Bikram Yoga Sexual Harassment Case
Greene Broillet & Wheeler partner Mark Quigley obtained a significant result for his client (Minakshi Jafa-Bodden) in a recent case against Bikram yoga founder Bikram Choudhury. The case resulted in an award of $924,000 in unpaid compensation to Ms. Jafa-Bodden, and additional punitive damages of nearly $6.5 million.
The trial exposed the sexually hostile work environment effectuated by yoga guru Bikram Choudhury against women in the workplace, and included claims for retaliation, wrongful termination and sexual harassment by Plaintiff Micki Bodden, who attempted to investigate and stop Mr. Choudhury’s illegal conduct. Ms. Bodden was employed by Choudhury’s various yoga entities as the Head of Legal and International Affairs in 2011, and was abruptly terminated in 2013. Ms. Bodden was both the victim of and witness to Mr. Choudhury’s severe, pervasive and even dangerous conduct towards women. Mr. Quigley successfully argued at trial that his client was fired for refusing to cover-up and cease her investigation into several allegations by young women that Choudhury had sexually assaulted them. The jury also made a unanimous finding of malice/oppression/fraud and returned a punitive damages award of roughly $6.4 million to punish Mr. Choudhury for his despicable conduct. Mr. Quigley received the Elite Trial Lawyers Award in 2016 for his work on this case from The National Law Journal.
This high profile case was featured in a number of news outlets, including those shown below.
Following the verdict, Mark Quigley was quoted in a variety or news stories.
From NBC Los Angeles:
“In his final argument in the punitive damages phase, plaintiff’s lawyer Mark Quigley Wednesday urged the jury to send Choudhury a message with a large award. ‘His conduct shocked me,’ Quigley said of Choudhury. ‘He thinks that he can do whatever he wants to do. It’s like a cancer, it’s ridiculous.’
Quigley urged the jury to disbelieve Choudhury’s claims of financial problems and to send him a message that his behavior toward women will not be tolerated.
‘This guy will do anything,’ Quigley said. ‘He is sick. Shut him down. He’s out of control.'”
From the LA Times:
“Choudhury said he did not know his net worth, repeatedly answering questions about his finances with, ‘You have to ask my accountant.’
After the verdict, Quigley said that Choudhury was attempting to hide his wealth. ‘It’s a sham,’ Quigley said. ‘He lives a life of luxury.'”
Mark Quigley was also quoted this CBS Los Angeles story.