1st day deliberations end in Anheuser-Busch suit

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm •  Published: May 15, 2014
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury will continue deliberations in a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Anheuser-Busch executive who claims the company paid her less than half as much as her male predecessor.

The panel of seven woman and five men deliberated four hours Thursday afternoon without reaching a verdict in the case of Francine Katz, who filed suit after she left Anheuser-Busch following its 2008 sale to Belgian brewer InBev. Katz earned roughly $1 million annually after her 2002 promotion to vice president of communications and consumer affairs but is seeking $9.4 million in back pay and damages, plus nearly $5 million in interest and an undetermined amount of punitive damages.

The 56-year-old lawyer said she earned less than half of what her male predecessor, a prominent civil rights activist, was paid.

Anheuser-Busch's lawyers argued that Katz's total compensation compared favorably to those in similar positions at other large U.S. corporations. They also said her duties were considerably narrower than predecessor John Jacob's. Jacob was a former National Urban League president, member of the brewer's board of directors and confidant to CEO August Busch III, whose family of German immigrants founded the iconic maker of Budweiser and Bud Light in the late 19th century.

"She was paid, and paid well, for her position," defense attorney Jim Bennett told jurors during closing arguments Thursday morning, reminding the seven women and five men that Katz reported income of more than $14 million for 2008, an amount that included a severance payment after the company's sale. "She was paid for her job duties."



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