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Madia Law Wins $1.2M Retaliation Verdict in North Dakota

Dr. Robert Roswick worked as a family practice physician at Mid Dakota Clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota.  He felt that Mid Dakota’s CEO and Board of Directors were racially discriminating against an Indian-American colleague of his by pushing forward with termination without allowing the colleague the same due process rights afforded to other shareholders at the Clinic.

So Dr. Roswick took action.  He emailed his fellow shareholders, gave them the factual basis as to why he believed the bylaws weren’t being followed, and told them he believed that their colleague was a victim of racism.  Mid Dakota’s CEO and Board promptly retaliated: they suspended Dr. Roswick’s employment and moved for his termination.  At his termination meeting, Board members openly told shareholders that “The reason we are here today is that Dr. Roswick raised this complaint of discrimination and made that known.”  The shareholders approved Dr. Roswick’s termination from Mid Dakota.

Dr. Roswick retained Madia Law in early 2017 and filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for retaliation.  It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who makes a good faith report of discrimination.  Mid Dakota defended the lawsuit by arguing that Dr. Roswick made a “false” complaint of discrimination that wasn’t in good faith.

The case went through 2 years of discovery and motions and finally went to trial before a Bismarck federal jury on August 5, 2019.  At trial, key Mid Dakota witnesses admitted that there was nothing “false” in Dr. Roswick’s email and, in fact, several key elements were true.

A jury deliberated for just over 4 hours before returning a $1.2 million verdict for Dr. Roswick.  The Bismarck Tribune covered the verdict.

We were honored to represent Dr. Roswick, as he stood up and did the right thing, even when it was hard.  We’re humbled to be one of the few employment firms in the country that routinely take cases all the way to trial. And we’re of course grateful at the hard, thoughtful, and brave work of the jury that decided the case.