IADC member Rebecca J. Wilson, a partner at Peabody & Arnold LLP, recently received a defense verdict in a sex discrimination and retaliation case in the United State District Court for the District of Massachusetts after a twenty-five day trial.
Attorney Wilson represented a nationally recognized orthopedic surgeon and former president of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons who was sued for sex discrimination and retaliation by the plaintiff who was a former resident in the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Residency Program (HCORP). Attorney Wilson's client was the Residency Director of HCORP and was responsible for the education and discipline of residents in the HCORP program. He placed the plaintiff on probation during her residency, notwithstanding favorable faculty evaluations, due to numerous complaints by the plaintiff's peers about her reliability, performance, and trustworthiness. The plaintiff contended that she was placed on probation due to gender stereotyping and was retaliated against when she raised concerns that her probation was as a result of gender discrimination. The plaintiff alleged that as a result of her probation and alleged subsequent retaliation, a job offer at a prestigious academic medical center was withdrawn and that she has been unable to secure employment at an academic medical center since her graduation from the HCORP residency program. At trial the plaintiff offered expert testimony that she has, and will suffer economic harm, in excess of $7 million dollars as a result of the defendant's actions.
The defense offered convincing evidence that the plaintiff's probation was performance based and that the plaintiff had not been promised a job at an academic medical center before she was placed on probation. A number of the plaintiff's peers testified at trial about her performance deficiencies. The defense also offered expert economic testimony that the plaintiff suffered no economic harm because she had failed to secure employment in an academic medical center and that the plaintiff's future earnings in a private practice setting could exceed her expected earnings in an academic setting.
After more than twenty hours of deliberations, the jury of six women and three men found in favor of all defendants on all counts.