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Film producer ordered to pay $3 million in sex case

A Los Angeles jury has ordered film producer Jon Peters to pay his former assistant more than $3 million after finding she was subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

The nine-woman, three-man panel on Friday awarded Shelly Morita $822,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. They found that Peters created a hostile work environment and acted with malice.

City News Service reports that Peters' attorneys plan to appeal the verdict.

In his testimony, Peters, 66, denied any wrongdoing.

Morita, a 44-year-old single mother, sued Peters and his company, J.P. Organization Inc., in December 2006, alleging he fondled her at his Malibu home and climbed into bed with her in an Australian hotel during the 2005 filming of "Superman Returns." She claimed that she couldn't find work in Hollywood after suing Peters because of his pull in the industry.

Peters produced several acclaimed films, including "A Star Is Born," "Flashdance," "The Color Purple," "Batman," "Rain Man" and "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

Along with former business partner Peter Guber, he also ran Sony Pictures movie studio for a time.

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