How Much Is Too Much to Settle a Sexual Harassment or Wage and Hour Case?

What’s the definition of an “excessive” verdict in a sexual harassment or wage & hour case?

$10 million? $10 quadrillion? How about… $2 undecillion?

The Joseph & Kirschenbaum New York wage and hour and sexual harassment blog has covered pretty egregious cases over the years. And our team has fought and won on behalf of many thousands of employees subjected to awful workplace conditions ranging from barbaric harassment to slow, chafing “nickel and diming.” However, like all sensible people, we believe that damages should fit the bill. Damages should be appropriate — not wildly excessive, and certainly not impossible excessively. Our goal is the maximum possible recovery for each and every client, but outrageous demands result in lost credibilty and a lower or at best delayed recovery.

Not everyone feels that way, however.

A man named Anton Purisima has filed a suit again Au Ban Pain, claiming “civil rights violations, personal injury, discrimination on natural origin, retaliation, harassment, fraud, attempted murder, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to defraud.”

Those are some pretty serious charges. So how much does Mr. Purisima want? He wants $2 undecillion dollars.

In other words, he wants $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Let’s put that amount in perspective. First off, it dwarfs all the money on Earth – and then some – by a lot.

Mr. Pursima is not the first person to ask for impossibly excessive damages. In 2008, a Katrina victim sued for $3 quadrillion (an amount equal to 200 times the U.S. GDP). In 2010, one miffed customer sued Bank of America for $2,000 quadrillion million dollars.

But the Au Ban Paid lawsuit is truly in a different league.

The www.xkcd.com blog recently humorously put that number in perspective. (Hat tip also goes to blogger, Kevin Underhill, who first reported about the suit.)

According to the XKCD analysis, the “estimated economic value of all goods and services produced by humanity since we first evolved” is only equal to $2.4 quadrillion – far short of the 2 undecillion goal. In fact, says XKCD “an entire earth of solid gold wouldn’t be enough… the sun’s weight in platinum wouldn’t be, either.”

XKDC noted the hourly rate of Solicitor General, Ted Olson is $1,800 an hour. So what would happen if everyone on Earth turned into Ted Olson? And what if the approximately 40 billion habitable planets in our galaxy also were replete with 7 billion Ted Olsons? And what if all those Ted Olsons across the galaxy worked 80 hour weeks, 52 weeks a year, for a thousand generations? Per XKCD, their total legal bill would STILL be 40,000 times less than the damages requested by the plaintiff.

Of course, humor aside, if you or someone you love has questions about a sexual harassment or wage and hour case, the team here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum would be happy to provide a free consultation. If we accept your case and you choose to retain us, expect credible and agressive represention. Call us now at (212) 688-5640.