Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Maryland Whistleblower Success Story

  The firm recently won a Section 1983 jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. The case was unusual in that the firm represented a volunteer firefighter seeking to be reinstated in a Volunteer Fire Department. The client exposed financial mismanagement and safety issues in the firehouse to a citizen who passed the information on to the Montgomery County Council. Up until the day of trial he would have accepted reinstatement as settlement with little or no money. (We unsuccessfully moved to enforce what we believed had been such a settlement shortly before trial). We proved at trial that the Department and Fire Chief terminated him for the disclosures. Although the jury awarded a modest amount in compensatory damages, it affirmatively found that the Department and Fire Chief terminated my client for protected speech. The verdict opened the door to reinstatement and attorney’s fees.

The Court did, in fact, later award my client significant post-trial relief, including: (1) reinstatement; (2) the award of six years of missed pension credits; (3) expungement of all negative information in my client’s personnel file related to his whistle-blowing activity; (4) an injunction against further retaliation and (5) $143,116.78 in attorney’s fees and costs (100% of the fees and costs the firm charged to the client).

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