Millions awarded to Fresno woman for spanking at work

FRESNO, Calif.

More than four years after winning her sexual harassment lawsuit against her employers, Janet Orlando is on the cusp of finally getting paid.

When the verdict was announced, Orlando broke down in tears, letting go of five years' worth of stress that started with spankings at work. She says it's felt like she's still being punished, and the insurance company she's fighting may not be ready to stop.

Orlando is having a hard time collecting on a big verdict in her sexual harassment case. The 58-year-old sued her employer, Alarm One, over getting spanked at so-called "motivational" work meetings.

Four years after winning her case and agreeing to a $1.4 million settlement, she hasn't gotten a dime. So, she found herself back in court, fighting the insurance company she thought was supposed to pay.

"I just felt like these people were trying to drain blood from a turnip this whole time," Orlando said. "I felt like they were trying to drain me and drain me, thinking I was going to back down."

After a three-week trial, Orlando won again. Carolina Casualty Insurance Company argued Alarm One was supposed to pay part of the settlement, but jurors decided the insurance company is liable for the full settlement. The insurer can appeal the decision and its attorneys are not ready to let Orlando celebrate.

"You guys know how long this has been going on and at this point they may exercise those appellate rights, so I don't know that this is a conclusion," said attorney Jonathan Cole, who represented Carolina Casualty.

But Orlando can count Tuesday's verdict as another victory, and although her payoff may still be years away, she knows how she'll start spending the money.

"A vacation," she said. "I (have to) go on a vacation. Take my aunt with me, my Aunt Sharon stood through me through thick and thin. We need to get away for a while."

With four years' worth of interest, Orlando is now owed almost $2 million. The interest will keep adding up as long as insurers keep fighting and Orlando keeps winning.

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