"The Price Is Right" producers owe a former show model $7.7 million in punitive damages for discriminating against her after her pregnancy.
Brandi Cochran was a model on the game show for seven years. She sued FremantleMedia North America and "The Price Is Right" productions, claiming pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination. She said producers rejected her when she tried to return to work in 2010 after maternity leave and a California jury awarded her the punitive damages Wednesday.
The $7.7 million will be added to the $777,000 in actual damages she has already been awarded.
Cochran, 41, was pregnant with twins after years of trying to conceive but, she said, the show's executive producer was not pleased.
"He was mad at me and it was hard to comprehend someone upset that I was having twins," she told ABC affiliate KABC-TV. "And then I would get questions, 'How long are you going to work?' 'Are you going to work if you get really big?'"
The former model said her co-workers called her a "wide load" and said she would break the set with her added pounds from pregnancy. When Cochran's baby bump started to show, the producers stopped calling her completely.
Months after her maternity leave in 2010, Cochran tried to return to the show but was rejected, she said.
"They ignored me, for probably about four months, trying to get a direct response about working," she told KABC.
FremantleMedia is appealing the verdict.
"We believe the verdict in this case was the result of a flawed process in which the court, among other things, refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40 percent of our models have been pregnant and other important evidence to our defense," the company said in a statement to KABC. "We expect to be fully vindicated after the matter has been reviewed."
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