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May 30 (Bloomberg) -- John Doerr, the lead partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said a lawsuit accusing the venture capital firm of sexual discrimination is “without merit,” based on the results of an independent investigation.

Kleiner Perkins was sued on May 10 by Ellen Pao, a partner at the firm and employee there since 2005, claiming unfair treatment of female employees. In the complaint, Pao said she was denied promotion and suffered the loss of compensation and other employment benefits because of the firm’s actions.

“We have taken great care to treat this situation seriously, swiftly and with integrity,” Doerr said today in a statement. “The investigator’s report concluded that the allegations are without merit and that our firm does not discriminate on the basis of gender.”

Doerr pointed to a number of women-led startups that Menlo Park, California-based Kleiner Perkins has backed, including e-commerce sites One King’s Lane Inc. and Rent the Runway Inc. and online-education company Coursera Inc. He also said the firm has a dozen female partners.

The case is Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC And Does 1-20, CGC-12-520719, Superior Court of the State of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Levy in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at

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