Missouri police officer agrees to mediation after $20M award

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CLAYTON, Mo. - A St. Louis County police officer has agreed to mediation to reach a settlement and avoid court appeals, weeks after a jury awarded him $20 million to resolve his lawsuit alleging he suffered discrimination because he is gay.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that both sides have incentives to settle. The county hopes to reduce its liability. Sgt. Keith Wildhaber could keep a larger percentage of the award if he settles.

Wildhaber's lawsuit alleged that he had been passed over for a promotion 23 times and was told to ``tone down your gayness.''

Missouri law requires defendants to give half of punitive damages awarded to the state's Tort Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. Punitive damages in Wildhaber's case amounted to $17 million of the $20 million award.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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