The Cleveland Clinic Foundation was hit with a hefty lawsuit last month for discriminating against a 77-year-old physician because of his age. Cleveland.com reported that the clinic “pushed him out” although he had worked for them for nearly 20 years. The case was heard in a Cuyahoga County court and was overseen by Judge Robert McClelland.
Here’s why the jury ruled in Dr. Robert Katz’s favor.
Dr. Katz worked for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation up until 2015 as an ear, nose, and throat physician. After dedicating himself to his career and his patients, he learned just how loyal the company he worked for was when the chairman of the Head and Neck Institute “pressured him to retire because he was no longer a fit for the hospital.” The hospital also began steering Dr. Katz’s patients away, having them seek treatment from younger doctors. Naturally, Katz complained to his boss and the human resources department. Yet, to his surprise, the hospital did not reappoint the patients they had steered away.
Unfortunately, Katz began to see a decline in his income and decided to take his skills and experience elsewhere and began practicing in Lake County at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. But, he wasn’t naïve to how he had been treated and took prompt action against the Clinic. Katz hired himself an Ohio employment law attorney and sued the foundation for age discrimination and retaliation. His case, which was presented before Judge McClelland and a jury on April 27th, finally reached a settlement in which Dr. Katz would be awarded $28 million in total for the damages he incurred. The news source stated that Katz was awarded $1.95 million in economic compensatory damages, $325,000 in emotional distress damages, and $26.38 million in punitive damages.
The substantial award was meant to serve as a message to the Clinic after it was discovered the hospital had violated the laws regarding age discrimination and retaliation. However, while Katz is expected to receive a good portion of this settlement, the news source did highlight that Judge McClelland “must significantly reduce the award because Ohio’s tort reform laws cap punitive damages at twice the amount of compensatory damages.” If this is the case, Katz’s OH employer law lawyer still believes the verdict was a victory. His attorney said in an emailed statement “We hope that [the Cleveland Clinic Foundation] understands from the verdict that its behavior is intolerable.”
The Clinic does have 30 days to appeal the judgement from the date the settlement was reached, and it is expected that Judge McClelland will reduce the amount in the near future.
Are you a victim of discrimination in the workplace?
If you have experienced similar circumstances as Dr. Robert Katz or your employer has mistreated you in another way such as sexually harassed you, it is important you understand that just like Katz, you have rights and they can be exercised properly with the help of an Akron, Ohio employment law attorney. The Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III has helped clients who have experienced things like wage and hour violations, age discrimination, and even retaliation for almost 40 years and can help you too. It is important that when going up against an employer or a large corporation, you have an employment law firm in Ohio that is experienced and qualified to help you so that the outcome of your case is a favorable one for you.
If you would like, you can contact The Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III now at:
755 White Pond Drive, Suite 403
Akron, OH 44320