September 20, 2019

September 20, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 19, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 18, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

LA Jury Awards Whistleblower $1.5 Million

On February 28, 2019, a Los Angeles jury issued a verdict of $1.5 million in damages to a former employee who alleged his employer retaliated against him for reporting misconduct in violation of the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h), the Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act (“DCWPA”), 10 U.S.C. § 2409, and California’s whistleblower statute, California Labor Code section 1102.5.  Lillie v. ManTech Int’l Corp, No. 17-cv-02538 (C.D. Cal.).  The verdict form can be accessed here.

Plaintiff, a former NASA Mars mission engineer at ManTech International Corp. (the “Company”), alleged his employment was terminated because he reported that he had received unauthorized access to classified and proprietary information owned by a third-party government contractor in violation of federal rules governing sensitive United States government procurement contracts.  He alleged that he had previously received positive performance evaluations and generous pay increases, but after he raised his concerns he was sent home without pay, placed on furlough, and then discharged.

Plaintiff brought claims for retaliation under the FCA, the DCWPA and California’s whistleblower statute in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  Finding in his favor on all of these claims, the jury awarded Plaintiff approximately $522,000 for past lost wages, $340,000 for future lost wages, and nearly $644,000 for past and future emotional distress damages.

This case is consistent with a trend of sizable jury verdicts in whistleblower retaliation claims.  We recently reported on an $11 million whistleblower verdict in San Francisco, much of which was upheld on appeal, and other large whistleblower verdicts in MissouriOregon and Illinois.  This trend highlights the risks employers face under federal and state whistleblower laws, and serves as a wake-up call for employers to carefully review their whistleblower protection policies and related protocols.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Steven J Pearlman, Labor Employment Law Firm, Proskauer Law firm
Partner

Steven Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group, resident in the Chicago office. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour laws and breaches of restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). He has successfully tried cases to verdict before judges and juries in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S....

312-962-3545
Kate Gold Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer
Partner

Kate Gold is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department in the Los Angeles office.

Kate has over 25 years of experience representing clients in a range of industries, across all areas of employment law.  An experienced litigator, she has represented clients in all types of employment-related suits, including class and collective actions, discrimination, retaliation and harassment, non-compete and wage/hour matters.  In addition to litigating, she conducts high-level workplace investigations and routinely counsels clients on matters involving the full range of state and federal employment issues.

Kate also represents clients in disputes involving  misappropriation of intellectual property and trade secrets, interference with contract, and unfair competition. Kate also counsels on classification of employees, employment issues in the context of purchase and sale of businesses, and non-competition agreements. Additionally, she negotiates and drafts executive employment and separation agreements and conducts training on sexual harassment prevention.

Kate received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

+1.310.284.5623
Pinny Goldberg Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Pinny Goldberg is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Pinny represents employers in a broad array of matters before federal and state courts, FINRA and other arbitration panels, and administrative agencies, including the EEOC and its state equivalents, and in pre-litigation negotiations. Matters he works on include discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, wrongful discharge, whistleblowing and retaliation, covenants not to compete, breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and tort and contract claims. 

In...

212.969.3074