New trial sought in Francine Katz's discrimination lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch

Associated Press

A former top executive with Anheuser-Busch is seeking a new trial in her sex discrimination case against the brewer.

Attorneys for Francine Katz were back in court Thursday, alleging jury instruction and other errors in the trial that took place earlier this year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/Zagp8W ). It is not clear when the judge will issue a ruling.

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Katz was once the highest-ranking female executive at Anheuser-Busch. She sued in 2009, alleging she was underpaid for several years in her role as vice president of communications and consumer affairs.

A jury of seven women and five men determined in mid-May that Anheuser-Busch did not discriminate against Katz by paying her significantly less than a male predecessor. She had sought more than $14 million in salary and interest.

Katz filed a motion asking for a new trial in early July.

"This is a case where legal errors . may well have influenced the outcome," said Mary Anne Sedey, Katz's lead attorney, on Thursday.

Sedey said one of those errors include the defendant's lawyer misstating a law when he used the phrase "equal pay for equal work." Sedey said Katz wasn't pursuing "an equal pay for equal work claim," but was arguing the company gave male executives credit for all of their job duties when deciding their compensation. She said the brewer didn't do the same for Katz.

Attorneys for the company argued in its motion objecting to the new trial that the phrase they used wasn't a misstatement of the law. They said it was a proper argument within case evidence.

"I don't need to tell this court how many times Katz compared herself to men" at trial, and thus the equal pay phrase is fair, company attorney Jim Bennett said. "It was part of the mosaic of the case."

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com