Trials & Litigation

Former general counsel's award of nearly $8M upheld; he claimed he was fired for whistleblowing

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A federal appeals court has upheld all but $2.96 million of a nearly $11 million federal jury award obtained by a whistleblowing former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco upheld $2.96 million in back pay and stock compensation and $5 million in punitive damages, report the Recorder and the San Francisco Chronicle. But the court overturned a doubling of the $2.96 million under the Dodd-Frank Act because of a Supreme Court decision issued while the appeal was pending.

The former general counsel, Sanford “Sandy” Wadler, received the award in February 2017 in a federal suit claiming he was fired for internally reporting his company’s possible violation of a foreign bribery law.

The Feb. 26 decision by U.S. Circuit Judge Mark Bennett was the first majority opinion he has written since President Donald Trump appointed him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A related decision is here.

The company had contended that Wadler was fired in June 2013 for poor performance. Its claim was undermined, however, by the discovery of metadata showing a critical job review dated in April 2013 was actually created a month after his firing.

A lawyer for Bio-Rad, Kathleen Sullivan, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the company was “evaluating its further appellate options.”

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