On Aug. 5, Gordon & Rees partner Mike Laurenson and associate Hieu Tran of the San Francisco Employment Group won a unanimous defense verdict after a three-week trial in Alameda County Superior Court.
The plaintiff was a forensic scientist and expert witness who alleged she had been terminated from her position as lab director in retaliation for whistleblowing about threatened destruction of evidence. She also alleged the company owner had promised her two years’ salary as severance if she was ever removed from her position.
Laurenson and Tran persuaded the jury that it was the plaintiff’s poor attitude, not her whistleblowing, that caused her termination, and that there had been no severance agreement. The plaintiff’s final pretrial demand was $1 million and the plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury for an award of nearly $2 million, in addition to an unstated amount for punitive damages.
The jury deliberated for only two hours before returning a 12-0 verdict in favor of the defense on all four causes of action.