Hueston Hennigan’s complete defense verdict in a whistleblower and tortious interference trial for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) earned it a spot on the Daily Journal’s list of 2019 Top Verdicts.
Caltech was sued by a former researcher, who claimed that he was terminated for exposing alleged misuse of government funds and research misconduct. He further alleged that Caltech tortiously interfered with his and his company’s business relations and breached contractual obligations. Caltech, on the other hand, argued that its actions were entirely proper in all aspects of its dealings with the government and that the DOE eliminated the researcher’s position by terminating funding when he failed to deliver on his commitments.
“At one point he was demanding more than nine figures, and he was trying to call into question Caltech’s integrity as a research institution and its relations with the Department of Energy,” said partner and co-lead counsel Moez Kaba to the Daily Journal. “But there was no misconduct on the school’s part and Caltech was determined to fight the claims.”
Following over a year of discovery, we moved for summary judgment and succeeded in narrowing the case substantially. The issue at trial – in May 2019 – was whether Caltech retaliated against Dr. Roumi for complaints he had made and wrongfully terminated him.
Through a spirited examination of many high-level officials at Caltech, co-lead counsel and partner John Hueston took “him on as lead witness and attempted to destroy his credibility.”
After four weeks of trial and just two hours of deliberation, we secured a full defense verdict for Caltech.
Read Top Verdicts story.