Irvine Woman Secures Award of $5.7 Million in Harassment Case
June 5, 2016
A Southern California jury found a now-divorced couple both guilty of planting drugs in the car of another woman, a former PTA school president. What started as a minor conflict in the parking lot of an Irvine, CA, grade school ended in the courtroom with a guilty verdict for Kent and Jill Easters and a $5.7 million award for Kelli Peters in civil damages.
Although Peters claims it was never about the money, the ruling allowed her to walk away with a sense that justice served. She believes that the courts sent a strong message that it is not okay to wreak havoc in the life of an innocent person. If they had shown remorse or offered an apology, she mentioned that she never would have taken the case this far. Peters feels that the ruling brought her closure after years of dealing with the emotional pain inflicted by the Easters.
The problem started in 2010 when Jill Easter did not find her son in the parking lot ready for pick-up upon her arrival. She became upset, and Peter’s offhand comment that maybe he was “slow lining up” made matters worse. Easter left offended as she felt the remark insulted her son’s intelligence. The situation intensified when Easter alleged that Peters was stalking her and tried to have Peters removed from her position.
In 2011, the police received a phone call, later discovered to be Kent Easter using a phony accent, about a parent driving erratically through the school’s parking lot. Peters was detained and her car searched, revealing marijuana and pills. Shocked and humiliated, Peters began the process of proving her innocence and unraveling the mystery.
Five years later, it took the jury less than an hour to deliberate and find that Kent and Jill Easter acted maliciously when they framed Peters. Up to the end, Kent Easter argued that Peters embellished her story and exaggerated the pain she suffered to gain monetary compensation well beyond that which she deserved.
Even if a person was not convicted in a criminal case, a jury might still find them guilty in a civil lawsuit. If someone has harassed you or damaged your reputation, contact us for professional help with your case.