As the firm then known as Hadsell & Stormer opened its doors in 1991, attorney Dan Stormer went to trial in a case involving sex discrimination against a female employee at Texaco who was passed over numerous times for promotion, in favor of less qualified white males. After the third time, Janella Martin sued. After a lengthy trial, the jury returned a combined verdict of $22 million in emotional distress, punitive damages, and economic losses. The award was reduced by a judge and went up on appeal, but the case came back for retrial and was settled during the second trial.
The case was the largest verdict then for a single plaintiff in a discrimination case and attracted national attention.