Staples Appeals a Jury’s $13 Million Dollar Award in Age Discrimination Claim AND a $219 Million Dollar False Claims Act Trial Goes to Jury

This week, attorneys for Staples asked an appeals court to reduce a $13 million dollar punitive damages award to a former Staples manager who was terminated at age 64.  The former manager alleged that his age-based termination constituted age discrimination as it was part of a company-wide effort to get rid of older highly compensated employees.  The award was granted under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) age discrimination provision.  Plaintiff’s attorney argued that the award was fair since the firing left the plaintiff as a lost soul and crumbled him causing his family to uproot and move to Idaho.  What’s interesting is that the jury’s initial award was $26 million but a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge felt that $10 million in punitive awards should be reduced.  In addition, this case was exemplary for punitive (or meant to make an example of) damages since it was alleged and proven that the manager was frequently picked on and harassed due to his age and was then terminated for a small violation used as a cover for the discriminatory reason of his termination. See similar cases here.

Last week, in an interesting False Claims Act action, a former employee of Abbott Labs asked a jury for $219 million.  The whistleblower’s allegations include that the medical device manufacturer pushed doctors to unnecessarily, and without medical approval, use Abbott stents in procedures costing Medicare and Medicaid more than $219 million dollars in damages between 2004 and 2006.  He also included in his complaint that Abbott instructed him and other members of the Sales team to look the other way and avoid established rules restricting the type of unlawful use of the stents.  No clinical trials were conducted to show that placing these specific stents is proven to help the patients.  Instead, profits overruled safety and proven results at Abbott.  See other FCA whistleblower cases that our Los Angeles based Employment Law Attorneys have analyzed.

If you believe that you, or another employee, suffered an employment law matter related to discrimination in the workplace involving national origin, age, disability, race, ethnicity or gender (or retaliation for filing a claim with a manager or government authority), prompt action to preserve your rights is crucial.  Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.