Verdicts & Settlements

Jury awards ousted general counsel nearly $8M; metadata is said to be important evidence

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Federal jurors in San Francisco on Monday awarded nearly $8 million to a general counsel who says he was fired because he blew the whistle on his company’s potential violation of a foreign bribery law.

The former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Sanford “Sandy” Wadler, was awarded $2.9 million in back pay and stock compensation and $5 million in punitive damages, report the Recorder (sub. req.) and Courthouse News Service. Wadler had sought $27 million in punitive damages.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours.

The award will increase to $10.8 million because the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the doubling of back pay for whistleblower retaliation, according to the articles.

Bio-Rad had argued Wadler was fired in June 2013 because of erratic work and loud outbursts. Wadler’s lawyers argued that there was no documentation of such behavior, and his 2012 performance review was mostly positive.

Another job review, dated April 2013, was actually created in July, a month after Wadler was fired, according to Wadler’s lead lawyer, James Wagstaffe. His proof was metadata showing the creation date. In an interview with Courthouse News, Wagstaffe said the metadata evidence helped tip the scale in Wadler’s favor.

Hat tip Bloomberg Big Law Business.

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