A Walgreens pharmacist who won, and then lost, punitive damages after being wrongfully terminated has had his award restored by a federal judge's new ruling.
The Fresno Bee reports that the pharmacist, Sami Mitri, was fired from Walgreens in January 2010 for whistleblowing. According to his wrongful termination claim, Mitri had begun working at Walgreens in 1996 before being promoted to the pharmacy manager of the chain's Fresno district. In the spring of 2009, Mitri discovered evidence of billing fraud, but when he raised the issue with company officials, he was let go.
Mitri, who had been making $230,000 a year at Walgreens, "could have turned a blind eye to the fraud," his attorney said. "[Instead], he put his job at risk and stood up against Walgreens. This guy is a hero because he stood up for taxpayers like you and me."
After being fired, Mitri filed a lawsuit against Walgreens and in August 2011 was awarded $88,000 in general damages and $1,155,000 in punitive damages. However, U.S. District Court Judge Attorney Anthony Ishii dismissed the latter award, claiming "there was insufficient evidence to support" the punitive damages given. After Mitri's attorney filed an appeal urging the judge to re-consider his decision, Judge Ishii reversed his ruling, stating that after further reflection, he agreed that Mitri's firing was directly related to whistleblowing and had been Walgreens' attempt to clamp down on claims of company fraud.
If you've ever lost your job because you blew the whistle on alleged unlawful practices at your workplace, reach out to The Meyers Law Firm right away. Our expert wrongful termination lawyers can assess your claim and fight for any damages you may be owed.