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College student claims she was assaulted by boss after hours – $40,000 Verdict

Plaintiff testified that she was working as a part-time office assistant to a solo practice tax accountant while she finished her college degree. One night, her boss, the defendant, kept her in the office until late at night and then assaulted her by running his fingers through her hair, putting his hands inside her shirt, hugging her and trying to kiss her. Plaintiff managed to get away, but suffered extreme mental anguish, fear, nightmares and panic attacks. The plaintiff’s father testified that, since the incident, she frequently wakes up in the middle of the night certain that someone is breaking into the house and that, whenever he tries to touch her, she flinches and pulls away from him. The testimony also revealed that, during the time she worked for the defendant, he frequently touched her and made inappropriate comments.

A police officer who investigated the case testified that the defendant admitted to hugging the plaintiff, but stated that he was just giving her a friendly hug to thank her for all of her hard work. The officer also testified that the defendant told him that he was not running his fingers through her hair as alleged, but rather, that he was checking her for lice.

Defendant, who was 52 at the time of the incident, testified in his own defense and stated it was the plaintiff who frequently brought up her personal matters to him, and that on the night in question, she asked him to run his fingers through her hair because she found it soothing.

The jury of seven men returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $20,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $20,000 in punitive damages.


Type of action: Personal injury – intentional tort
Injuries alleged: Mental anguish, shame and embarrassment
Name of case: Kiziltas v. Liu
Court: Loudoun County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL73351
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Thomas P. Horne
Date: Jan. 28, 2014
Special damages: Lost sleep, severe panic attacks, nightmares and fear
Demand: None
Offer: None
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $40,000
Attorney for plaintiff: James P. Magner, Leesburg
Attorney for defendant: William Fitzpatrick, Leesburg

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