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

by Ashwin Madia, Attorney on September 12, 2012Ashwin Madia, Attorney

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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry and Joan Molenaar September 18, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Thank you Ashwin and your firm for this work on behalf of equal justice for all.
I [Larry] understanbd the “fitness” for duty” issue. I found out about the challenge for me when I received a call from a specialty clinic to schedule my evaluation. I checked with an employment legal practice but was advised that I did not likely have sufficient grounds. The corporate entity was unwilling to retrain or find a slot where I might fit despite my increasing physical challenges; granted that in the past some accomodations had been made. So I acquiesced even though I felt very wronged. For a time, I wished that I had not “rolled over” so easily.

John Zasada September 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Ashwin,

Bravo! How rewarding it must feel to defend and prevail against such a great cause.

John

Dee Ann Christensen September 18, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Ash:

What a worthy and noble thing you have accomplished. Somehow…I knew you would.

Dee Ann

Minal Belani September 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Great news and quite an accomplishment! Nice to see your firm grow and expand. Keep on!

Minal Belani (From SABA- Northern California)

Paul Kuttikadan September 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Great News and quiet and accomplishment, Madia & Team. Congratulations!!!

Bruce Barron September 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Great job counselor. There is a true need for effective representation for people that find themselves on the blunt end of discriminatory actions.

Kanak Koradia September 19, 2012 at 5:28 AM

Dear Mr.Madia,
You have done good job.This is great news.Ashwin I am from Mumbai.

Pat Lind September 22, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Congratulations Ashwin! We knew you’d continue to work for the fair treatment of all citizens in the judicial system. People with diagnosed mental illnesses especially need advocates like you. Best Wishes, Pat and Doug Lind

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