Employment Verdicts and Record Payouts

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Michael Artinian talked to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal for a story about high profile employment cases and whether record payouts for plaintiffs are typical. 

The story focuses on a single-plaintiff employment verdict of $167 million in Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare West. The verdict was later reduced to $82 million, and the two parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

After making several complaints to the hospital, including complaints about patient care, surgical physician assistant Ani Chopourian was inappropriately disciplined and later terminated after receiving repeated sexual advances and being denied meal breaks.

Artinian said several factors played into the determination of such a high verdict. He said Chopourian was a high-income earner, which means she could show high economic damages as a result of being terminated. In addition, the defendant, which now operates as Dignity Health, is one of the largest health care systems in the nation, meaning the organization has deep pockets.

“One of the factors that plays into such a big verdict is if you have a big defendant on the other side,” said Artinian. “When it gets to the punitive damage phase, assets of the defendant become an issue and become relevant in regard to jury determination.”