A Cleveland jury awarded the largest verdict in Ohio history — $46.6 million — to a man who they said was wrongfully fired last year.
Ronald Luri, 55, alleged that Republic Services Inc. of retaliation and of forging documents critical of his job performance after he refused to fire three of his employees — all about 60 years old — on the grounds that such actions would constitute age discrimination.
The jury awarded Luri $3.5 million as compensation for his lost wages as general manager of Republic’s Cleveland division, and $43.1 million in punitive damages as punishment for the company’s treatment of Luri.
The jurors said they were especially appalled by testimony of evidence-tampering and actions taken by Luri’s superiors to prevent him from obtaining new employment in the Cleveland area after his firing.
Even after Luri was fired in 2007, he didn’t file the wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuit until after Republic enforced a one-year non-compete clause that prevented him from working at a local competitor.
The jurors felt that the company blocked every opportunity for him to get another job.
Legal Analysis: Chalk one up for the good guys.