A U.S. District Court jury yesterday awarded $52,500 in damages to an Alexandria woman who contended she was forced to quit her job with World Airways Inc. in order to avoid alleged sexual advances by the airline's president, Edward J. Daly.
The jury of two men and four women deliberated for about two and one half hours before making the award to Bonnie A. Clark, 35, who resigned as World Airways district sales manager in Washington after seven days on the job.
According to court records, Clark contended that on three separate occasions, Daly patted her on the right hip, attempted to touch her without her consent and rubbed her leg.
On the first occasion, Clark told Daly "None of that, boss" and attempted to "overlook his advance," court records said. The second time, Clark grabbed Daly's hand "to thwart the advance" and on the third occasion, Clark said, she managed to get away after she promised to accompany Daly to Reno, Nev., court records said.
World Airways contended that none of Daly's conduct was "discriminatory, violent or threatening," and argued that the trip to Reno was "consistent with the company policy." World Airways argued that Clark "flirted and encouraged sexual advances" during trips to San Francisco where the alleged acts occured. The airline's attorneys contended that Clark was "fabricating" the allegations against World Airways and Daly. The verdict was against the airline alone.
Daly, who has been described as a swashbuckling, pistol-packing, multi-millionaire airline mogul, is perhaps best known for defying both the United States and Vietnamese governments in 1975 to fly refugee planes out of Saigon and Danang. A separate claim brought by Clark is still pending against Daly, who did not testify at the week-long trial before Judge Harold H. Greene.
Lawyers for World Airways told Greene yesterday that they would move to have the court set aside the jury verdict because it is contrary to the evidence.
The jury awarded $2,500 to Clark for compensation damages and $50,000 for punitive damages.