Bikram Yoga founder ordered to pay in harassment lawsuit

LOS ANGELES - The founder of a popular hot yoga method on Monday was ordered to pay more than $900,000 to a lawyer who said she was fired for investigating allegations of sexual harassment against the guru.

See Full Article

A Los Angeles jury ordered Bikram Choudhury to pay the attorney $924,500 in compensatory damages after finding he had subjected her to harassment and retaliation. The jury is considering whether to award the attorney, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, with punitive damages on Tuesday.

"It's an enormous vindication," said Jafa-Bodden's attorney, Carla Minnard.

She said Choudhury sexually harassed Jafa-Bodden, inappropriately touched her, and tried to get her to stay with him in a hotel suite. Choudhury fired her in June 2013 when she began investigating claims from other women of sexual abuse, Minnard said.

Choudhury's attorney, Robert Tafoya, did not return a call for comment.

Choudhury, 69, has built an empire around Bikram yoga, a rigorous, 90-minute routine performed in a room that can reach more than 100 degrees. The technique is taught at more than 650 studios worldwide and has drawn a throng of devoted followers.

Monday's verdict is just the latest bad news for Choudhury.

In October, the guru lost a court appeal to copyright his sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the sequence used in hot yoga classes is a process intended to improve people's health, so copyright law does not cover it.

Choudhury is also facing lawsuits by six women who claim he sexually assaulted them, the first of which is set for trial in April.

The most recent lawsuit, filed Feb. 13, accuses Choudhury of raping a Canadian woman who had she used $10,000 from her college fund to pay for a nine-week class so she could teach Bikram yoga to others.

Choudhury's lawyers have said he never sexually assaulted any of the women suing him and that prosecutors had declined to bring charges in their cases.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Pipeline protesters to hold news conference after eviction notice

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., are set to hold a news conference to relay their side of the story this morning, instead of complying with an eviction notice handed down by the city. Source
  • Pipeline protesters defy city-issued eviction order, say they'll meet with officials

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., say they will meet with officials to discuss safety measures, but will not comply with a city-issued eviction order. The City of Burnaby says there are safety concerns surrounding "Camp Cloud," including a two-storey watch house and a fire that the protesters describe as sacred and ceremonial. Source
  • Edmonton man charged following investigation into alleged $5.5M Ponzi scheme

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Police say a 59-year-old Edmonton man is facing charges after allegedly orchestrating a Ponzi scheme valued at $5.5 million. Investigators with the Edmonton police say the man used the company name "Wakina Consulting Inc. Source
  • Aeroplan wants to be your rewards program and travel agent. Will it work?

    Economic CBC News
    Aeroplan wants to be more than your rewards program; it also aims to serve as your travel agent. The program announced its ambitious plans this week, which include offering charter flights to sun destinations, opportunities to book travel with cash while earning points, and the ability to transfer miles to other loyalty programs. Source
  • Higher crude prices and weaker loonie could offer provinces royalty windfall

    Economic CBC News
    Resurgent oil prices this year could deliver three provinces unexpected windfalls — and maybe improved political fortunes — if crude stays strong. Sagging prices have weighed heavily on resource-based economies in recent years, putting the squeeze on provincial budgets that rely on petroleum revenues. Source
  • Aeroplan announces big plans for its revamped program but members still skeptical

    Economic CBC News
    Aeroplan wants to be more than your rewards program; it also aims to serve as your travel agent. The program announced its ambitious plans this week, which include offering charter flights to sun destinations, opportunities to book travel with cash while earning points, and the ability to transfer miles to other loyalty programs. Source
  • Canadian agriculture ministers briefed on trade-war contingency plan

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay emphasized the importance of the provinces working together as an escalating trade war with the United States puts some farmers on edge. The minister said his provincial and territorial counterparts discussed trade negotiations and the contingency plan during their conference that wrapped up Friday in Vancouver. Source
  • Teamsters members at CP Rail ratify new contract

    Economic CBC News
    Unionized conductors and locomotive engineers at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have voted in favour of a new four-year collective agreement. Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents about 3,000 workers at CP, voted 64.7 per cent to ratify the new contract. Source
  • Pipeline protesters say they're willing to defy eviction notice

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. - Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., say they are ready to defy an eviction notice handed out from the city. The City of Burnaby issued a 72-hour notice to those occupying "Camp Cloud" on Wednesday, but protesters say in a news release that isn't enough time to comply with concerns raised over safety. Source
  • Japan resumes Canadian wheat imports after suspension

    Economic CBC News
    Ottawa says Japan has ended its temporary suspension of Canadian wheat imports. Japan had halted shipments after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was found in southern Alberta. Ottawa says the decision marks an end to all international trade actions arising from the discovery on June 14. Source