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Aug. 2012: Madia Law Wins $1.3M Jury Verdict in Disability Discrimination Case

After a two week trial, a Carver County jury awarded Madia law client Dr. Sam Deweese nearly $1.3M in damages from his former clinic.

Dr. Deweese worked as a family practice physician for nearly twenty years at his clinic and earned high praise from his patients.  He devoted his entire working life to the institution, committed himself to a high standard of excellence in his profession, and committed a large capital contribution in order to secure his partnership.  Dr. Deweese alleged that his clinic’s relationship with him changed after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in summer 2007.

Dr. Deweese alleged that his clinic’s leadership pressured, manipulated, and deceived him into relinquishing his shareholder status after his diagnosis.  Minnesota law imposes a fiduciary duty on fellow shareholders in closely held corporations – each shareholder must act with loyalty and care toward their fellow shareholders.

Dr. Deweese further alleged that his clinic refused to increase his hours as it had previously promised in exchange for his shareholder status.  In Minnesota, people are not allowed to make false promises that they have no intention of fulfilling in order to get others to enter into agreements – that’s called fraudulent inducement.

Dr. Deweese alleged that shortly after he complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights of disability discrimination, his clinic removed him from his position and ordered a fitness for duty evaluation.  He was terminated shortly thereafter.  He therefore alleged disability discrimination and retaliation under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The jury found that Dr. Deweese’s clinic breached its fiduciary duty toward him, frustrated his reasonable expectations of continued employment, and fraudulently induced him to sell his shares back to the clinic.  The jury additionally found that Dr. Deweese’s complaint of disability discrimination to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights was a motivating factor in his clinic’s termination of his employment.  Ultimately, the jury awarded Dr. Deweese $1,285,384.00 in damages.

Please note that every case is different, with its own unique facts. Just because Dr. Deweese won a large jury verdict in his case does not mean that you will obtain the same result in your case. You should contact Madia Law to discuss your disability discrimination case in detail and get an accurate assessment of its value.