In a recent article posted on The Employment Law Group Blog entitled: Federal Jury Awards Whistleblower $3.5 Million in Alaska Retaliation Case, is reported that a federal jury awarded Paul Blakeslee $3.5 million because of the illicit activity of his former employer. As it was proved, Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting suspicious dealings by a manager of the company’s maintenance work on Alaskan military bases.
According to Mr. Blakeslee’s lawyers, the verdict included $2.5 million in punitive damages becoming so one of the largest judicial decisions in an employment case in Alaska history. It also may happen that after supplemental awards by the court, the final value of the verdict will pass $4 million.
Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc is a Louisiana-based contractor for the U.S. Army. The jury came to the conclusion that Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc fired Paul Blakeslee for reporting that the other manager was billing the Army at inflated rates for equipment leased from his own company. Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc stated the firing was independent, but the jury called it retaliation and said it violated the False Claims Act.
The question of discrimination was also raised in the court. As Mr. Blakeslee was 71 at the time he was fired, the jury accused Shaw Environment & Infrastructure Inc of age discrimination against Paul Blakeslee.
As a consequence of the 12-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, Paul Blakeslee won $454,000 in back wages, $486,000 for emotional distress, and $2.5 million in punitive damages. Paul Blakeslee said in the Anchorage Daily News Interview that the lawsuit against his former employer was never about the money. Vindication was the only his interest.
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V., a multinational contractor and engineering firm, bought Shaw’s parent company this year. The other manager was finally fired.
According to the Employment Law Group whistleblower attorneys help many clients file suit against employers that fraudulently bill the U.S. government, and establish favorable precedents under the retaliation provision of the False Claims Act.
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