The Largest Wrongful Termination Verdicts in California History

This page is all about the largest wrongful termination verdicts in California history. It’s rare for good cases to go to trial. Cases usually settle. But sometimes they don’t and when a trial happens, one side wins, the other loses. This page is an accumulation of the largest wrongful termination verdicts for employees.

About the List

Some of these verdicts are mixed verdicts, meaning they also had a discrimination claim or whistleblower claim along with the WT claim. But every effort was made to verify that one of the main claims before the jury was the tort of wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

So why a list of only verdicts, and not include settlements? While it is true that the majority of wrongful termination cases settle, almost every settlement has a strict confidentiality provision that prevents the parties from disclosing the data. So, the large settlements are not public knowledge. We don’t even have a list of average settlement values.

Keep in mind when looking at the list of wrongful termination verdicts that many times the large amounts are due to punitive damages. Punitive damages are extremely rare, but handed out to deter companies from engaging in the same type of bad act. Because the rarity of punitive damages, you never expect them. Every case, even if they are extremely similar to one within the list, has various factors that affect value including the mood of the judge and jury on the day of the trial as well as if a higher court feels as though the awards were too high.

In addition to the amount of the verdict, we have also provided when the verdict came through, a short synopsis of the case, and the lead trial lawyer for the lawsuit. But please note, Robert Odell was the trial lawyer in only one of the below cases. If you have an employment issue, these verdict amount do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. We have spent a good amount of time building this list, but we can’t guarantee that we have all the biggest verdicts in CA history. We have tried our best! We will try to update this list every year or two.

If you want to know if you have a case, contact our wrongful termination lawyer to get a free consultation. If you want to know more about wrongful termination law, visit this page.

The Largest Wrongful Termination Verdicts in California

Verdict Amount Year Case Details Lead Trial Lawyer
$25,100,000 2017 Babyak v. Cardiovascular Systems. Plaintiff, an excellent salesperson, complained that other salespeople were breaking FDA law by promoting CSI’s leg catheter for use in heart arteries (which it didn’t have FDA approval for). CSI retaliated by demoting, increasing his quota, taking away good territory, and then firing him. The award was for compensatory and punitive damages. Robert Odell & Tamara Freeze
$21,700,000 2013 Rodriguez v. Valley Vista Services. Plaintiff, a customer service rep, had a mental illness and was fired for it. Carney Shegerian
$20,000,000 2016 Williams v. Wyndham. Plaintiff, a time share sale representative for Wyndham, was fired after protesting sales practices which were elder abuse. Anne Costin & Christopher Dolan
$18,300,000 2012 Ward v. Dr. Pepper. Six plaintiffs were awarded $18.3 total due to practices by Dr. Pepper aimed to make older employees want to quit. Michael Baltaxe
$18,000,000 2012 Marlo v. UPS. Plaintiff claimed there were safety and wage violations. He was terminated after. Mark Peters
$16,000,000 2014 Nickel v. Staples. Plaintiff, a 64-year-old worker, was terminated so his boss could hire younger employees. A jury initially awarded $26 million, but that as reduced. Carney Shegerian
$8,713,000 2015 Leggins v. Rite Aid Corp. Plaintiff, a manager at Rite Aid, was terminated after he was attacked a robbery of his store. Carney Shegerian
$8,500,000 2012 Daniel v. Tesoro Refining. Plaintiff, a shift supervisor, was injured on the job. When another company bought her employer they changed her job duties forcing her to go on a 22 month medical leave. The new company terminated her. Carney Shegerian
$7,393,540 2016 Yowan Yang v. Actionet, Inc. Plaintiff was attacked by a co-worker over a disagreement about moving cubicles. The co-worker choked Plaintiff, screamed that he was going to kill him, and destroyed his work station. In response, Actionet terminated the employment of Plaintiff without performing an investigation. Jim DeSimone
$6,241,655 2012 Webb v. Ramos Oil, Co. Plaintiff, a tanker truck driver for Ramos Oil was terminated from his employment for refusing to drive in a ferocious storm while intoxicated. Lawrance Bohm
$5,500,000 2012 Brim v. IUOE, Local 501. A woman perceived to be associated in a lawsuit against her employer alleging FEHA violations was terminated in retaliation Lee Feldman
$5,400,000 2011 Tran v. US Mineral Products. Plaintiff, a manager, was fired for complaining about his secretary being sexually harassed by the company’s chief executive. Victor George
$5,200,000 2012 Johnson v. Sears Holding. Plaintiff was the target of racist remarks. When he complained to the company, they threatened to terminate him and his coworker if he complained about it. Chris Whelan
$4,646,252 2013 Steffens v. Regus Management Group. Plaintiff, a manager, voiced concerns over her employees being unable to take meal and rest breaks. She was immediately put on a “formulaic and virtually unattainable” performance improvement plan, which led to her termination. Cindy Panuco
$4,000,000 2015 Cerbone v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento. Plaintiff, a high school football coach, was terminated after discovering and reporting sexual hazing amongst the student athletes. David Lowe
$3,500,000 2012 Palma v. Rite Aid. Plaintiff, a store manager, was terminated after being diagnosed with a serious disability. Carney Shegerian
$3,240,000 2011 Thomas v. TapOut. Plaintiff, a saleswoman, was terminated for not watching the companies reality TV show and not watching their pay-per-view events on her own dime. She was also berated by her boss in an attempt to get her to quit instead of paying her commissions. Carney Shegerian
$2,892,187 2013 De La Cruz v. Cal-Pac Sonoma Stephen Murphy
$2,160,000 2012 Hussein v. Farmers Group. Plaintiff has just beaten cancer, but had developed chronic pain syndrome. His company failed to reasonably accommodate him. Arash Homampour
$2,000,000 2011 Radford v. BAE Systems. Plaintiff was terminated due to their race. Carla Minnard
$1,686,500 2015 Rivera v. Costco. Plaintiff, a forklift operator, had multiple medical leaves for surgery. His employer accused him of sexual harassment, broke company policy, and emailed the plaintiff’s medical records to investigators to get him fired. Bernard Alexander
$1,670,000 2011 O’Connor v. Corona Regional Medical Center. Plaintiff, a supervisory nurse, was fired for disciplining subordinates while trying to improve patient care Jeff Rager
$1,500,000 2014 Abyane v. County of Los Angeles. Plaintiff, a social worker, had a new boss who discriminated against her, and eventually terminated her due to her race.
$1,498,873 2016 Rinehart v. Bank Card Consultants Laruen Morrison
$1,472,600 2014 Renfro v. California Dept. of Correctionsa and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff, a psychologist, was fired for starting a library without management approval, but she claimed she was terminated due to her race. Inconsistencies in personnel lying about the reasons that led to her firing persuaded a jury to believe her story. Mary-Alice Coleman
$1,325,000 2015 O’Brien v. Baca Nathan Goldberg
$1,292,436 2014 Main v. Valley Slurry Seal. Adam Reisner
$1,242,125 2016 Rubalcaba v. Albertsons. Plaintiff, a 34 yr employee of Albertsons, was fired for “taking home empty boxes,” but the real reason for his termination was due to a brain tumor that he had. Attorney’s fees are pending, so this award could get larger. Nancy Abrolat
$1,200,000 2011 Young v. City of Los Angeles. Plaintiff, a city college coach, reported alleged academic fraud and misuse of educational funds, including financial aid. He was then fired. Louis Cohen
$1,178,000 2013 Saldina v. DirecTV. Plaintiff developed an eye condition, which led to more errors at work. The company did not try to reasonably accommodate her and eventually terminated her for an increase in errors. J. Bernard Alexander


3 thoughts on “The Largest Wrongful Termination Verdicts in California History

  1. Sally Robertson

    Very interesting. I would bet that the companies in these cases had egotistical/narcissistic CEO’s that refused to settle. Serves them right!!!

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