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Local News

Paula Lopez Ochoa Wrongful-Termination Lawsuit Against KEYT Dismissed

The wrongful-termination lawsuit filed against the KEYT and KKFX stations owner by former television news anchor Paula Lopez Ochoa has been dismissed, according to Santa Barbara County Superior Court documents.

Lopez’ attorney for the case, Santa Barbara-based Janean Daniels, filed the request to dismiss the case with prejudice on Dec. 2.

Mark Danielson, general manager of NPG of California, told Noozhawk “the matter has been resolved,” but wouldn’t comment on whether the case was dropped or a settlement was reached.

Daniels’ office did not respond to requests for comment.  

Lopez filed the lawsuit Sept. 2 and claimed she was discriminated against by NPG of California, which owns KEYT and KKFX, based on her “sex, disability and Hispanic race/ancestry.”

She claimed she was fired after her Sept. 6, 2015, arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and assaulting an officer.

Lopez later pleaded no contest to DUI, refusing a chemical test, delaying a peace officer, and battery on a peace officer, and served 50 days in the county’s electronic-monitoring program in addition to being placed on probation.

In the lawsuit complaint, Lopez claimed NPG failed to offer her a fair agreement when it purchased the stations, subjected her to “unsanitary and unsafe working conditions” by having women reporters and anchors put on makeup in the station bathroom, and was paid significantly less than CJ Ward, “her male, non-Hispanic counterpart.”

Lopez, who has spoken publicly about her “ongoing battle with alcoholism,” makes mention in the lawsuit complaint of taking leave from work after going missing for a day in 2013, and signing a “last chance agreement” to avoid being fired after a July 2013 public-intoxication arrest.

After the arrest, she was transferred to KCOY, a station with “less stature” and longer drive times to Santa Maria and other North County areas, the complaint alleges.

She was fired following her 2015 DUI arrest, according to the lawsuit. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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