Lawyers for Aaron Spelling on Tuesday asked a judge to throw out a $4.8 million pregnancy discrimination judgment won by actress Hunter Tylo against the “Melrose Place” producer or grant a new trial.
Tylo was fired from the series after telling producers she was pregnant and before appearing in a single episode. She was awarded $4 million for emotional distress and $894,601 for economic loss last December by a jury of 10 women and two men.
On Tuesday, Spelling attorney Paul Grossman told Superior Court Judge Fumiko Wasserman that the damages awarded Tylo were excessive, the product of a “runaway jury swayed by passion and prejudice.”
He said the jury had awarded Tylo almost twice the $2.5 million her lawyers asked for during closing arguments, and “nearly four times the amount ever awarded to a plaintiff in a published discrimination case.”
Wasserman took Spelling’s motion under consideration and said she would issue a written ruling later this month.
The jury had found merit to Tylo’s claims of pregnancy discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract by Spelling Entertainment Group and Spelling Television Inc.
Lawyers for Spelling argued during the nearly six-week trial that Tylo, star of the soap “The Bold and the Beautiful,” would have been too heavyset while pregnant to play the role of a sexy “vixen.”
That part was eventually given to actress Lisa Rinna, who subsequently became pregnant, as did “Melrose Place” star Heather Locklear. Neither actress was dismissed from the show.
The svelte Tylo stunned courtroom observers by announcing from the witness stand that she was eight-months pregnant with her fourth child.
She has since given birth to that child, a girl, and returned to “The Bold and the Beautiful.”