Search Site
Menu
Whistleblower from 2005 Wins His Job Back

Scott Teutscher worked for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Association (RSA) from 1999 until he was dismissed in 2005. Beginning in 2002, the Riverside Sheriff’s Association Legal Defense Trust covered the legal costs for Duane Winchell, a deputy sheriff, in a domestic relations proceeding. These legal expenses were outside of the trust document. Teutscher blew the whistle by reporting the payment of Winchell’s legal fees from the trust to the sheriff’s internal investigations unit. Teutscher was fired a few months later.

Whistleblowing and retaliation

Teutscher argued that he was dismissed in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the illegal payments made by the RSA Legal Defense Trust. The RSA argued that it terminated Teutscher for alleged misconduct surrounding an angry outburst that occurred after a June 2005 disciplinary incident. The U.S. District Court found that Teutscher was terminated in retaliation for his whistleblowing, as evidence showed that he was fired six days after revealing his identity as the whistleblower.

Recovery of damages

In April, a jury concluded that RSA wrongfully terminated Teutscher in violation of public policy and awarded $457,250 in compensatory damages and $357,500 in punitive damages. In July, the U.S. District Court upheld the awards and ordered the RSA to reinstate Teutscher to his position and pay $571,823.50 in legal fees.

Is reinstatement the right remedy?

Eight years after his wrongful termination, the court orders the defendant to reinstate Teutscher to his position. Many argue that reinstatement is often not the best remedy, because the relationship between the employee and employer has deteriorated to such a low level that continued cooperation cannot be reasonably expected. When considering reinstatement, courts examine the following factors:

  • Is there a comparable position available?
  • Does the reinstatement displace an innocent employee?
  • Do both parties agree that reinstatement is a realistic option?
  • Is the hostility between the parties so serious as to make reinstatement difficult?
  • Has the plaintiff found comparable work?
  • Did the plaintiff change career goals?

Reinstatement used to be the remedy of choice. Now, courts turn to awarding front pay. If you have been terminated in retaliation for whistleblowing, contact your Texas whistleblower attorney for a consultation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    #600
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

FOLLOW US
Facebook Twitter Linkedin RSS Feed JD Supra