A new court filing shows that Ellen Pao asked the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfied and Byers for $2.7 million not to appeal her landmark gender-discrimination case.
In April, a month after a jury decided against Pao on all counts in the case, the venture firm offered to waive the nearly $1 million in legal fees it has asked the court to make Pao pay on the condition she agreed not to appeal. Pao rejected that offer on Monday, and a newly public legal filing reveals the reason why: An earlier offer to settle from the VC firm wasn't high enough.
According to a San Francisco Superior Court filing by Kleiner Perkins, Pao asked for $2.7 million to drop the case — roughly three times the amount Kleiner originally offered her to settle back in November. This comes on top of Pao's May request that Kleiner Perkins strike Pao's legal fees. The $2.7 million figure was first reported by Re/code.
Kleiner refused Pao's request, meaning the case will now go to appeal. "Pao cannot have it both ways," Kleiner Perkins' filing states. "She ran up KPCB's costs by forcing KPCB to respond to an onslaught of allegations and discovery over the course of three years leading up to trial and is now objecting when she receives the bill. She claims KPCB's legal costs are unreasonable, but … Her claim of unreasonableness is particularly nonsensical given her own post-trial demand of KPCB for $2.7 million to cover her fees and costs."
Pao's decision to appeal is surprising in light of her comments upon losing the case. On March 27, Pao told the press she was done fighting Kleiner Perkins and that the increased visibility of gender issues in Silicon Valley was a symbolic victory in and of itself.
"I have told my story and thousands of people heard it," she said at the time. "If I've helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, the battle was worth it. Now, it's time for me to return to my career."
This story has been updated to clarify that Kleiner Perkins Caulfied and Byers has asked a judge to rule that Ellen Pao owes the firm nearly $1 million in legal fees.