In The News

‘I Want What My Male Colleague Has, and That Will Cost a Few Million Dollars’

Women at the Salk Institute say they faced a culture of marginalization and hostility. The numbers from other elite scientific institutions suggest they’re not alone.

Northern San Diego County is a scientific mecca, home to some of the world’s leading biotech companies, renowned research institutions and a world-class university. But the Salk Institute for Biological Research, perched on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, is distinguished even among its neighbors. Jonas Salk founded the institution in 1963 as a kind of second legacy, after the millions of lives saved with his polio vaccine.


Massage therapists sue Grand Del Mar for sexual harassment

MAR 2, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Two women who worked as massage therapists at the Grand Del Mar are suing the resort’s parent company, claiming the spa allowed them to be sexually harassed by male clients.

Christina Murphy and Madeline Flores made allegations this week of sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation against FHR GDM Hotel Management Company LLC.

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Massage therapists sue Grand Del Mar hotel over client sexual harassment

FEBRUARY 28, 2019

Two certified massage therapists are suing San Diego’s five-star resort, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, alleging management failed to protect them from repeated inappropriate sexual behavior by certain clients.

The two women, who no longer work at the golfing and spa resort in Carmel Valley, say managers acted too little or too late to ban the male clients or stop them from uncovering while on the massage table and asking for explicit touching.

Plaintiffs Christina Murphy and Madeline Flores allege that at least four other female massage therapists — who are not named in the lawsuit — were victimized in the same manner over an 11-year span.

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Final gender discrimination case at Salk Institute ends in settlement

22 NOVEMBER 2018

The last of three high-profile lawsuits against the prestigious California institute has been settled.
The prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, has settled the final of three high-profile gender-discrimination lawsuits filed last year. The latest agreement was announced on 21 November.
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Top US biomedical institute settles gender-discrimination lawsuits

The Salk Institute has reached a deal with two of three female scientists who alleged unequal treatment.


The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has settled a pair of gender-discrimination lawsuits brought last year by senior female scientists.

Cancer researchers Katherine Jones and Victoria Lundblad have agreed to drop all claims against the institute in La Jolla, California, according to a joint statement released on 7 August.

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Salk Institute Settles 2 Gender Bias Suits

Southern California’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies has settled two of three gender discrimination lawsuits filed by top female scientists.

The renowned research center and two former plaintiffs, Kathy Jones and Vicki Lundblad, said in a statement Tuesday that they’ve agreed to “put our disagreements behind” and “move forward together.” Terms were not disclosed.

The third plaintiff, Beverly Emerson, will continue the lawsuit against the Salk, according to her attorney Alreen Haeggquist.

“Salk ended Dr. Emerson’s career at the Salk because she brought Salk’s gender discrimination to light,” Haeggquist said.

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Salk Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit to Go to Trial

A judge throws out several of researcher Beverly Emerson’s claims, but the case proceeds.

Sep 4, 2018

Molecular biologist Beverly Emerson’s case against the Salk Institute will go to trial this December, after a judge last week (August 30) threw out three of her claims but let one stand. Emerson, now a professor emerita at Salk, says she was for decades denied professional opportunities available to male faculty members at the institute.

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Some claims tossed, but Salk Institute sex bias case will move forward

Three claims against the Salk Institute have been thrown out in a gender discrimination lawsuit, but the case is still headed for trial.

Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon ruled Thursday that there was not enough evidence to proceed with three of four claims challenged by the institute, but that a discriminatory treatment claim brought by former Salk researcher Beverly Emerson can move forward.

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CVN’s Top 10 Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdicts of 2017

Jan 5, 2018

2017 was a busy year for Courtroom View Network! As the only news organization in the country focused on webcasting high-stakes civil trials, CVN covered everything from bellwether product liability trials, to medical malpractice trials, to complex commercial trials, and along the way filmed some of the nation’s top trial attorneys in action, in their element, in front of a real live jury. 

We also launched our exciting new “CVN Essentials” product, offering specially curated content like our popular “Trial in 20 Minutes” video summaries.

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OCTOBER 19, 2017

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LuLaRoe Is Getting Sued for Being a ‘Pyramid Scheme’

LuLaRoe is headed for a new level of legal trouble. The company, known for its vibrant print leggings and affordable casualwear, has withstood allegations of defective leggings and faulty clothing. Now, a class-action lawsuit names the company as a “pyramid scheme.”

Amber Eck, the lawyer who recently won a $25 million settlement against Trump University for charges related to fraudulent business practices, has taken on the case. The suit names four plaintiffs across the country and seeks to represent “thousands of consultants.” The lawsuit alleges six charges of unlawful, fraudulent, and unfair business practices, advertising, and breach of contract under California law.

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Kaiser Accused At Trial Of Firing Employee To Avoid Costly Medical Treatment For Her Son

San Diego — Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente faced claims in a California state courtroom on Wednesday of illegally firing a former medical assistant in order to duck high costs associated with treating her son’s chronic illness.

Plaintiff Maria Gonzalez alleges that Kaiser engaged in disability discrimination, when the company fired her in 2014 while her adult son Pedro, who received his healthcare through Kaiser, sought an expensive operation to treat a debilitating kidney disorder.

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Third Female Scientist Sues Salk Institute Alleging Gender Discrimination

July 20, 2017

A prominent molecular biologist has sued the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, alleging gender discrimination by the life sciences organization, her lawyer announced Thursday.

Beverly Emerson, a Salk employee for nearly 31 years, is the third woman to sue the institute in the past couple of weeks on the issue, along with biologists Vicki Lundblad and Katherine Jones.

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40 Under 40 Awards — 2016

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Trump U Settlement a ‘Great Result’ for Students

SAN DIEGO (CN) – After just 18 months in the business, a four-person San Diego law firm took on Goliath: business mogul – now President-elect – Donald Trump.

Over the course of the next seven years, the attorneys at Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck would litigate two federal class actions on behalf of 7,000 former Trump University students burdened with debt after paying thousands for the real estate school and in the end not getting what they paid for.

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Lawyers for Trump University plaintiffs reveal how they got the case and why they’re forgoing a fee

DECEMBER 20, 2016

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Donald Trump agrees to $25-million settlement in lawsuits against Trump University

NOV 18, 2016

A $25-million settlement was reached Friday resolving three fraud lawsuits filed against Donald Trump and his now-defunct Trump University, averting the prospect of a trial for the president-elect.

The settlement covers two class-action suits filed in San Diego and a third suit brought by the New York state attorney general. The deal comes 10 days after Trump was elected president and 10 days before the first of the cases was set to go to trial.

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News Archive

Third female professor sues Salk Institute, alleging gender discrimination

The San Diego Union-Tribune – July 20, 2017

Accusations of gender discrimination are growing at the Salk Institute, where a third female professor has sued the La Jolla science center for allegedly giving preference to men in pay, promotions, grant funding and leadership positions.

 San Diego judge approves $25 million Trump University settlement

The San Diego Union-TribuneMar 31, 2017
Students allege they paid up to $35,000 to attend seminars and learn inside secrets to success in real estate from mentors who were …

 Donald Trump paying $25 million after judge approves Trump …

The Denver PostMar 31, 2017
“Over the past seven years, our goal has always has been to help these everyday Americans move forward with their lives,” attorney Amber Eck …

Kaiser Accused At Trial Of Firing Employee To Avoid Costly Medical …

CVN News (blog)Feb 23, 2017
San Diego — Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente faced claims in a California state courtroom on Wednesday of illegally firing a former …

Sony Gets Early Nod On Settlement In Vaio Laptop Defect Suit

Law360 (subscription)Jan 4, 2017
… Deborah Dixon of Gomez Trial Attorneys, and Helen Irene Zeldes, Alreen Haeggquist and Aaron M. Olsen of Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck LLP, …

Trump U Settlement a ‘Great Result’ for Students

Courthouse News ServiceDec 29, 2016
Over the course of the next seven years, the attorneys at Zeldes Haeggquist & Eckwould litigate two federal class actions on behalf of 7,000 …

With judge’s sign-off, Trump to pay $25 million in Trump U case …

Washington PostDec 21, 2016
… always been to help class members put Trump University behind them,” said Amber Eck, co-lead counsel for the former students who sued.

Attorneys in Trump University case talk strategy, leaks and deposing …

The San Diego Union-TribuneDec 11, 2016
Aaron Olsen, an attorney at Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, took the call in January 2010 and, unlike the prosecutors and other civil attorneys who …

Lawyers for Trump University plaintiffs reveal how they got the case …

ABA JournalDec 20, 2016
But that’s what happened when Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck agreed in 2010 to represent a dissatisfied Trump University student, the San Diego …