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Los Angeles County, CA

In this whistleblower action, the plaintiff, who is the chair of the orthopedic surgery department at the defendant university, alleged he was retaliated against for his reporting of misconduct and conflicts of interest within his department. The plaintiff contended that he suffered defamation and retaliatory treatment as a result of his actions. The defendant denied the allegations, and maintained that the plaintiff was asked to resign as chairman of the department, due to his poor leadership skills and interpersonal skills.

The 54-year-old male plaintiff was hired as the chair of the defendant’s department of orthopedic surgery in April ________. During the first year of his chairmanship, he reported conflicts of interest and misconduct between faculty and outside industry, which he felt could potentially affect patient safety. Less than one year into this position, the plaintiff was asked to step down, and a settlement was entered into whereby the plaintiff would be able to continue his employment as a rank and file faculty member. The plaintiff alleged that his removal as chair was directly motivated by his protected disclosures of improper governmental activities which afforded him protection under the state’s whistleblower act. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant, alleging that he was retaliated against due to his reporting misconduct in violation of California’s, Whistleblower Protection Act. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant violated California’s labor code, and alleged defamation and rescission of contract claims against the defendant.

The defendant denied the allegations. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was removed as the chair of the department due to his inability to effectively lead. The defendant argued that the plaintiff had poor leadership skills and conducted a poor manner of interacting with faculty and staff. The defendant contended that the protected disclosures were not a motivating factor in any of the adverse employment actions taken against the plaintiff. The defendant denied the allegations regarding defamatory statements made regarding the plaintiff, alleging that the statements were substantially true, and were not widely published.

The matter proceeded to trial over a period of two months. At the conclusion of the evidence, the parties agreed to resolve the plaintiff’s claims for the sum of $________.

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