by Michael Fox
What could be worse than losing a $1.2 MDV whistleblowing lawsuit? How about having to wait until November 28 to have a determination of how much in punitive damages might be awarded? That's the uncomfortable position of C & S Wholesale Grocers is in following last Friday's verdict in a whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a former refrigeration mechanic. Steven Sommese claimed that his employer condoned refrigerant leaking into the atmosphere in violation of the Clean Air Act. His story, which apparently the jury believed, was that he was retaliated against and ultimately terminated for calling this to his employer's attention. See Jury gives Dover man over $1.2M in the Asbury Park Press.
Under Texas state procedure the defendant can request to bifurcate the issue of punitive damages but most defendants do not. The thought of having to wait 3 weeks for the other shoe to drop, is just one good reason.