Federal Judge Will Consider Jury’s $7.6 Million Verdict

In December, 2011, a federal district court jury returned a $7.6  million verdict in an employment discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in favor of Dr. Vivian Renta and against Cook County.  The plaintiff's attorney wants to increase the jury's advisory award for back pay, front pay, and pension benefits from $3.2 million to $3.8 million based upon different interest rates.  Renta was employed by Stroger Hospital in the pathology department.  Dr. Renta claimed that certain hospital administrators discriminated against her because of her gender and Puerto Rican ancestry.  At one point, Dr. Renta complained about one of her residents being replaced.  Subsequently, she was charged with committing eight serious errors concerning the diagnosis of cancer in a number of patients.  The executive medical staff initially suspended Dr. Renta, and the hospital later revoked her privileges.  Dr. Renta sued, seeking compensation for backpay, lost pension benefits and other damages.  The jury rendered an advisory verdict and recommended that the County pay Dr. Renta $7.6 million.  Judge Feinerman will resolve the issue shortly.  Our experience has been that juries react most strongly to retaliation claims and that significant punitive damages often follow from these cases.
Categories: Employment Law