Jury Hits Town With $1.5 Million Fine After Wrongfully Terminating Detective
A jury in Morristown, New Jersey, recently ruled unanimously that the town’s police chief, Pete Demnitz, removed officer Keith Hudson from his position after he blew the whistle to authorities about the extra-duty jobs the chief was performing during his hours. The court directed the town to pay Hudson $1.5 million in punitive damages, plus $200,000 in past and future lost earnings and emotional distress.
The defense attempted to argue Chief Demnitz was unaware of Hudson’s complaint to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office when he fired Hudson, saying instead that Demnitz was concerned about mass shootings that had been happening across the nation, and Hudson had failed to investigate a gunman arrested at Headquarters Plaza in July 2015.
However, other officers testified that Hudson was a model detective and officer, and that they disagreed with his reassignment. In addition, the prosecution presented evidence that Demnitz worked 62 extra-duty freelance jobs on 42 different dates, resulting in wasted money.
Whistleblowers crucial to uncovering wrongdoing
The vast majority of cases involving fraud, wasteful spending or other forms of corporate or business wrongdoing would go unnoticed if not for the bravery of whistleblowers. Fortunately, today’s laws make it safer than ever for whistleblowers to come forward with information they have about internal wrongdoing, as the government not only protects those whistleblowers from retaliation, but also offers them monetary awards for their service.
If you have information about wrongdoing that should be reported, consult an experienced Dallas attorney at Kardell Law Group for more information about how to start the process.