$2.75 Million Verdict for LAFD Employee Who Was Retaliated Against for Whistleblowing
After a 12-day trial, Partner Matthew McNicholas and Senior Lawyer Douglas Winter secured a $2.75 million, unanimous verdict on behalf of a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) employee who experienced retaliation after disclosing potential grant fraud and abuse.
As a member of the LAFD Dive Safety Board, the plaintiff witnessed the destruction of equipment purchased by the Dive Safety Board, misappropriation of grant funds, and improper disposal of equipment in violation of grant restrictions.
When the plaintiff reported this to a supervisor, his duties were slowly stripped away, he was ostracized by Dive Safety Board members, and he was subjected to other adverse employment actions. The plaintiff then reported the hostile work environment and a Professional Standards Division (PSD) internal complaint was initiated, but the LAFD failed to remove the offending members, forcing the plaintiff to request a transfer to another station. The LAFD closed out the PSD investigation without taking any action.