Kelly Kolb, shareholder in the firm’s Labor & Employment section, and Amanda Chafin, formerly with the firm's Labor & Employment section in Tampa, defended an orthopedic medical device manufacturer against a former employee’s Florida Whistleblower claim. The employee alleged he was fired in retaliation for his opposition to discriminatory hiring instructions, and for his opposition to the company's effort to provide misleading data to the FDA regarding software validation for implantable medical devices. He was actually fired for, among other things, telling a female co-worker she should drink water out of a hose like his dog and not from a drinking fountain.
Since the plaintiff accused our client’s senior management and ownership of defrauding the FDA, the client did not feel it could settle the case without raising the FDA's interest in its operations.
Following the plaintiff’s deposition in which the plaintiff disavowed personal knowledge of most of the allegations, Buchanan served a Motion for Sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit, which caused the plaintiff to dismiss his claims with prejudice. The dismissal made our client a prevailing party, entitled to recover its legal fees under Florida’s Whistleblower Act. The Court determined that our client was entitled to recover its attorney's fees and costs as a prevailing party, awarding a final judgment in the amount of $158,000.
The successful result vindicates management, sends a message to any other employees contemplating litigation against the client and avoids unwarranted FDA scrutiny.