UPS supervisor receives $18 million verdict for wrongful termination/retaliation. Los Angeles County.
Plaintiff claimed violations of safety regulations and wage/hour law after working many years for UPS. After a failed attempt at a class-action, plaintiff filed individual suit and encouraged many other managers to do the same. Plaintiff said he was fired after an incident fabricated by defendant. Jury awards substantial punitive damages.
- Case Name: Michael Marlo v. United Parcel Service, Inc.
- Court and Case Number: Central District of California/CV-09-7717 DDP
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, August 23, 2012
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, January 08, 2009
- Type of Action: Employment, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Wrongful Termination
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Dean Pregerson
- Plaintiffs: Michael Marlo,48
- Defendants: United Parcel Service, Inc.
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $18,098,478
- Economic Damages:
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Punitive Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 2.5 days
- Attorney for the Plaintiff: Duckworth Peters Lebowitz Olivier LLP by Mark C. Peters, San FranciscoFurutani & Peters, LLP by John A. Furutani, Pasadena
- Attorney for the Defendant: Paul Hastings LLP by Elena Baca and Lisa Brown, Los Angeles
- Plaintiff's Technical Experts: Phillip Allman, Ph.D., economics, Oakland
- Defendant's Technical Experts: Christopher Haan, Ph.D., economics, Chicago, IL
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff Michael Marlo was a UPS supervisor who worked for UPS for 22 years. Marlo filed a class-action wage-and-hour lawsuit in 2003. The class was decertified in May 2008, and Marlo then proceeded as an individual plaintiff. The individual case first went to trial in May 2009.
In mid-2008, after decertification, Marlo encouraged other UPS supervisors to file their own lawsuits against UPS in an attempt to change allegedly unsafe working conditions at the company. Fifty-four UPS supervisors filed individual lawsuits against UPS between August and October 2008. Marlo also made complaints about workplace safety concerns and safety violations to UPS and to multiple government agencies.
Some of these complaints included inadequate heaters for employees working in sub-freezing temperatures, employees working well over 40 hours per week, and employees driving UPS trucks after working more than 60 hours per week, violating DOT regulations.
Plaintiff was denied promotion for a number of years, and was terminated on Nov. 12, 2008, a few months before his wage-and-hour case was scheduled for trial.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That defendant retailiated against plaintiff for his actions and that he was wrongfully terminated. That defendant falsely asserted plaintiff threatened a customer as a pretext for the termination. That UPS conducted a sham investigation; that they hired an outside investigation firm, but withheld key eyewitness information from the investigators that would have disproved the allegations against plaintiff.
That the UPS district manager and the human resources district manager believed plaintiff’s lawsuit was a distraction and other UPS supervisors weren't working as hard due to plaintiff’s lawsuit; that they viewed plaintiff's lawsuit as negatively impacting employee morale, going against UPS culture and posing a monetary concern for the company.
- Defendant's Contentions:
That plaintiff had not been promoted due to conflicts with peers, and that when he was approached in 2008 about being promoted, he rejected the idea.
That plaintiff initiated an unprovoked, aggressive incident with a customer who came into the facility in October 2008. That this incident included plaintiff verbally assaulting the customer, pointing in an aggressive manner and verbally threatening the customer. That plaintiff then confronted and intimidated the employee who witnessed and reported the incident though he'd been asked to keep the incident investigation confidential.
That the October incident was investigated by an outside investigator with no affiliation and that no information was withheld.
That plaintiff was found to have engaged in gross misconduct and broke many company policies during the October incident. That plaintiff was terminated due to his misconduct during this incident, not due to his lawsuit.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $650,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: None