Jury Awards $300,000 in D.C. Whistleblower Case

On November 21, 2011, a District of Columbia jury found in favor of Christina Conyers Williams in her D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act claim against the District of Columbia. She was formerly employed at APRA, the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration in the District of Columbia Department of Health ("DOH"),

Plaintiff's supervisors attempted unsuccessfully to terminate her for an alleged violation of the D.C. Residency Preference Act.

In its answer to a question on the verdict form, the jury stated that plaintiff engaged in a "protected disclosure" about contract irregularities in testifying before the D.C. Council in 2006.

The jury awarded $300,000 in compensatory damages, based on ten different acts of retaliation. The jury found constructive discharge after the agency took away all of Plaintiff's duties and staff. The jury also found a hostile environment. Additionally, the court issued a "cat's paw" instruction.

Neither of the supervisors attended trial. The District read the deposition of one of them into the record. The Court barred the District from using the deposition of the other supervisor because the District failed to demonstrate the witness [a D.C. resident] was "unavailable" for the purposes of Rule 32.

I tried the case with Kristen Hughes who did a superb job.

– submitted by John F. Karl, Jr.