SAN DIEGO, Jan. 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On December 20, 2023, after more than three weeks of trial, San Diego Attorneys Jordon Harlan, Andrew Hillier and Francis DiGiacco received an impressive jury award of $9,372,000 in a California Family Rights Act retaliation case against Concentra Health Services, Inc. This verdict follows more than three years of intensive investigation and litigation, and delivers to Plaintiff Marilyn Buron, long-awaited justice.
Marilyn worked as a full-time occupational therapist at Concentra’s Kearny Mesa facility for 15 years, treating patients with arm and hand injuries and providing post-operative care. In late November 2020, Marilyn’s son developed a life-threatening condition that required Marilyn to take job-protected leave to care for him through surgery and recovery. Marilyn alerted her supervisors at Concentra and took job protected leave from December 1, 2020 through February 22, 2021.
After nearly three months of caring for her son and husband, Marilyn was eager to return to work and had been in communication with her supervisor in efforts to schedule shifts. However, on February 23, 2021, Marilyn returned to find that she had no patients on her schedule, and her personal belongings were removed from her workstation and shoved into a drawer. She soon learned that while she was on leave, Concentra made the decision to transition Marilyn from full-time to per diem, and replace her with a less-qualified employee who was 41 years her junior.
The case was heavily litigated for three years before trial, and consisted of extensive motion work, discovery, four focus groups by Marilyn’s attorneys, and nearly 20 depositions. According to attorney Jordon Harlan, “At each step of this process, Concentra refused to accept responsibility for violating the law. Ultimately, the jury had to hold them accountable.”
At trial, Jordon, Andrew, and Francis demonstrated to the jury that Marilyn taking family care leave was “an issue” for Concentra, and that the termination resulted in significant emotional distress to Marilyn. “Marilyn took pride in a career that was stolen from her,” said attorney Andrew Hillier, “at the time she needed it most.”
After deliberations, the jury found that Concentra violated the California Family Rights Act and other important protections provided by law when they replaced her during her job-protected leave, and did so knowingly. The jury awarded Marilyn $1,562,000 in damages for the emotional pain, humiliation, and devastation she experienced. The jury also awarded $7,810,000 in punitive damages against Concentra to prevent them from ever doing this to anyone again.
SOURCE Harlan Law
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/harlan-law-and-hillier-digiacco-llp-obtain-9-37-million-verdict-against-national-healthcare-conglomerate-302029035.html
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