Jury Awards Punitive Damages to Nurse in Whistleblower Case
Posted on July 24, 2010 by Matthew Stanford
Representing a former operating nurse for ValleyCare Health Systems, Mr. Organ worked to secure a decisive verdict in a whistleblower case that would serve to expand employee rights in the future. Resigning in distress after reporting numerous patient safety and state regulatory violations to hospital managers, 15-year veteran Kristeen Klaas filed a lawsuit against the hospital system when it refused to rehire her. After retaining Mr. Organ as counsel, she was able to convince an Alameda jury that ValleyCare had indeed retaliated against Ms. Klaas by disregarding her request for rehire.
After four days of deliberations, the jury awarded Ms. Klaas $44,198 in economic damages and an additional $300,000 in punitive damages. Due to the nature and size of the verdict, the case received significant attention in the press, including the San Francisco Chronicle.