Two local lawsuits came to an end this past week.
First, a City Hall employee was awarded nearly $900,000 after he faced retaliation by city officials.
And second, a Los Angeles jury ruled against a former Caltech scientist who claimed he was fired in 2016 for exposing misappropriation of funds from the Department of Energy.
Farshid Roumi, 39, an expert in battery research, agreed to transfer federal funding for battery research to the school from Parthian Energy LLC, a company he co-founded in 2012.
Two researchers were bought in by the college to help Roumi, but things took a bad turn after he learned of the researchers allegedly doing work unrelated to the project while being paid from the federal dollars he agreed to transfer to the school.
After objecting, Roumi’s project was shut down and he was fired.
“They loved him,” plaintiff’s attorney Mark Quigley said of Roumi’s Caltech supervisors, when addressing the jury during opening statements, according to City News Service.
“Caltech appreciates the jury’s time and consideration during the trial. We are pleased with the verdict. It validates our personnel decisions involving the plaintiff and our commitment to fairly and honestly administering our government funding,” the college said in a statement.
In the first case, a jury late last week awarded former Department of Water and Power employee Richard Thompson $824,000 after city officials retaliated against him for writing a favorable performance evaluation recommending the promotion of a female employee who was suing the city for gender discrimination.
Thompson also claimed the day before he was to testify on behalf of Aurora Isabel, he was summoned to meet with his supervisor and two city attorneys, who instructed him to say that he did not write Isabel’s performance evaluation recommending her for promotion, and that she did.
After Thompson testified on behalf of Isabel, which resulted in her receiving $250,000, the city demoted him from his job as a utility services planning supervisor, and took away his office and city vehicle. Thompson was forced to take a stress-related leave of absence and later resigned.
“The city of Pasadena has a duty to follow the law and protect its employees from retaliation and harassment, not engage in it,” said attorney Patrick McNicholas. “Richard Thompson was an employee of the city for 25 years, and because he didn’t agree to lie under oath to protect the city in a separate lawsuit, he was humiliated, harassed and ostracized to the point where he was forced to resign.”