Essex County Jury Awards $690,000 to UMDNJ Whistleblower
April 30, 2013
NEWARK- a jury in Essex County, New Jersey awarded $690,000 to a former employee of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (“UMDNJ”) who alleged he refused to conduct an x-ray that had not been properly authorized.
The plaintiff, Fernando Almeida, Jr., was employed as a radiology technician at UMDNJ in the summer of 2008. Mr. Almeida contended that on the overnight shift of August 30, 2008 an unidentified individual asked him to perform an x-ray on a patient. Mr. Almeida further alleged that this individual did not have a written requisition form for the x-ray, had not followed hospital procedures about documenting x-ray requests. Plaintiff also alleged that New Jersey regulations governing x-ray technicians make it clear that x-rays must be done under the direction of a licensed physician. Mr. Almeida alleged that because the x-ray had not been properly authorized that he refused to do it. As a result of his failure to conduct the x-ray, he alleged he was terminated from his position at UMDNJ.
The jury awarded Mr. Almeida $175,000 for lost wages and $250,000 for emotional distress. Furthermore, the jury awarded $265,000 in punitive damages. Mr. Almeida was represented by Gregory B. Noble, Esq. of O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC in Westfield, New Jersey. The trial was conducted before The Honorable Randal Chiocca, J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County.
Mr. Almeida’s counsel, Mr. Noble, said that “Mr. Almeida is deeply gratified that a jury of his peers recognized that the actions he took on August 30, 2008 were proper and that he was unlawfully terminated.”