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Firm: Ellen Pao Demanded $2.7 Million Not to Appeal Discrimination Verdict

by The Associated Press /  / Updated 
Image: Former Kleiner partner Pao arrives at San Francisco Superior Court in San Francisco
Former Kleiner partner Ellen Pao arrives at San Francisco Superior Court in San Francisco, California in this file photo taken March 24, 2015. ROBERT GALBRAITH / Reuters

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The woman behind a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture capital firm demanded $2.7 million not to appeal the jury verdict against her, the firm said Friday.

Attorneys for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers included the figure in court documents filed in San Francisco Superior Court against Ellen Pao, and a spokeswoman for the company said Pao sought the money in exchange for not appealing.

"We have no intention of accepting this unreasonable demand," the spokeswoman, Christina Lee, said.

Heather Wilson, a spokeswoman for Pao, declined comment on Friday's court filing or statement by Kleiner Perkins.

Pao filed a notice this week that she was appealing the March verdict, in which a jury found Kleiner Perkins did not discriminate or retaliate against Pao.

The case became a flashpoint in an ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms, where women are grossly underrepresented.

During the trial, Kleiner Perkins attorney Lynne Hermle tried to portray Pao as someone just interested in money. She said Pao failed as an investor at the company and sued to get a big payout as she was being shown the door. Pao is now interim CEO of the Internet discussion forum Reddit.

Pao's attorneys said she was an accomplished junior partner who was passed over for a promotion because the firm used different standards to judge men and women, and that she was fired when she complained about discrimination.

Kleiner Perkins is seeking more than $970,000 in legal costs from Pao. It had said it would waive all costs if Pao did not pursue an appeal.

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