FEDERAL JURY RETURNS UNANIMOUS VERDICT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,550,561.00 FOR WHISTLEBLOWER. U.S. District Court, Central District of California First Street U.S. Courthouse - Los Angeles

FEDERAL JURY RETURNS UNANIMOUS VERDICT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,550,561.00 FOR WHISTLEBLOWER. U.S. District Court, Central District of California First Street U.S. Courthouse - Los Angeles

Thursday February 28, 2019

On February 28, 2019 a federal jury of 8 jurors returned a unanimous verdict of 8 to 0 and awarded damages in the amount of $1,550,561.00 for the Plaintiff/Terminated Employee. The jurors deliberated for approximately fourteen (14) hours, over a three-day period, before reaching a verdict. Plaintiff is represented by The Law Office of Jan T. Aune. Trial attorney was Jan Aune.

Plaintiff called ten (10) witnesses in his Case-in-Chief including Non-Retained Expert witness Leslie Daugherty who testified regarding Plaintiff's emotional distress damages. Defendant ManTech called 3 witnesses in its Case-in-Chief or a total of 13 witnesses over the course of the trial. Witnesses included employees of Defendant ManTech, and Plaintiff subpoenaed witnesses to appear and testify from non-party California Institute of Technology - Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During the course of the Jury Trial approximately 149 Exhibits were entered into evidence.

The Jury Trial lasted 7 days including Jury Deliberations.

Plaintiff's whistleblower claims were retaliation in violation of the False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. Section 3730(h), (2) retaliation in violation of the Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act ("DCWPA"), 10 U.S.C. Section 2409, and (3) retaliation in violation of California Labor Code Section 1102.5. Plaintiff's whistleblower claims are based upon federal law and California state law

Case: Lillie v. Mantech Int'l Corp.
Federal Case No.: 2:17-CV-2538-CAS-SS
Judge: The Hon. Christina A. Snyder
Court: United States District Court, Central District of
California
First Street Federal Courthouse - Los Angeles,
California.

Plaintiff is represented by The Law Office of Jan T. Aune.
Plaintiff has whistleblower claims based upon retaliation in violation of the False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. Section 3730(h), (2) retaliation in violation of the Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act ("DCWPA"), 10 U.S.C. Section 2409, and (3) retaliation in violation of California Labor Code Section 1102.5. Plaintiff's whistleblower claims are based upon federal law and California state law.
Plaintiff's whistleblower claims are based upon Plaintiff reporting that he had received unauthorized access to "classified/proprietary" information of Lockheed Martin during his work on a project involving California Institute of Technology's ("CalTech") Jet Propulsion Laboratory ("JPL"), a federally funded research and development center under the National Aerodynamics and Space Administration ("NASA"), and Plaintiff's then employer ManTech.

FACTS AND BACKGROUND:

On Feb. 6, 2015, plaintiff David Lillie, then age 64, an engineer, was terminated from his position at ManTech International Corp., in Montrose. Plaintiff provided engineering support in fulfillment of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech RESS contract. While he was helping design the spacecraft's power supply, plaintiff received a classified/proprietary engineering math software that he should not have been given. He reported it. Later terminated.
ManTech was a third-party contractor on a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars, as part of the Mars InSight Mission. ManTech contracted with the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide support for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology Reliability Engineering Support Services (“RESS Contract”). Funds from NASA were used for the RESS Contract and also to pay ManTech for plaintiff's services.

Plaintiff provided engineering support in fulfillment of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech RESS Contract. While he was helping design the spacecraft's power supply, plaintiff received a classified/proprietary engineering math software, known as the MathCAD files, of which contractors, such as ManTech, were prohibited from gaining access. Plaintiff reported to ManTech, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (“JPL”) Ethic’s Department that he had received unauthorized access to classified/proprietary software during his work on the project. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff was placed on indefinite furlough and then terminated.
Plaintiff sued ManTech Int'l. Corp, alleging that ManTech's actions constituted whistleblower retaliation and wrongful termination.

THE JURY TRIAL IN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Plaintiff called 10 witnesses in his case-in-chief including non-retained expert witness Leslie Daugherty who testified regarding plaintiff's emotional distress damages. Defendant ManTech called three witnesses in its case-in-chief, including its expert rebuttal witness, for a total of 13 witnesses over the course of the trial. Witnesses included employees of Defendant ManTech, and plaintiff subpoenaed five witnesses to appear and testify from non-party California Institute of Technology - Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During the course of the jury trial approximately 149 exhibits were entered into evidence.

Counsel for California Institute of Technology ("CalTech") – Jet Propulsion Laboratory ("JPL") also attended the trial based upon a February 15, 2019 Federal Court Order. The Federal Court Order was based upon the Court Denying JPL's Ex Parte Application to Quash Plantiff's Trial Subpoenas served on JPL employees and for a Protective Order. On or about February 11,2019, JPL certified itself as an Interested Party in the case. JPL's Ex Parte Application was filed on February 11, 2019, just 8 days before trial was to begin.  Plaintiff filed an Opposition and successfully opposed JPL's Ex Parte Application.  The Order stated in part: "On balance, the Court thus finds that the value and relevance of the requested testimonies outweigh the burden to JPL. Accordingly, to address JPL's concerns that plaintiff seeks to misuse the trial subpoena in an attempt to seek discovery for a putative claim against JPL,the Court will not permit plaintiff to solicit testimony on events unrelated to his operative claims against defendant. The Court will also not permit cumulative testimony. Additionally, counsel for JPL may be present at trial and may raise objections, where appropriate, on grounds of privilege." As a result of the Order, JPL's counsel DLA Piper, by Holly Lake, attended the trial in order object to plaintiff's counsel Jan Aune's questioning of JPL's employee/witnesses as allowed by the Court Order

THE RESULT
Gross Verdict or Award: $1,505,561.00

Economic Damages:
Past lost earnings: $521,983.00
Future lost earnings: $339,828.00
Non-Economic Damages:
Past: $321,875
Future: $321,875
Trial Time: 6 days.
Jury Deliberation Time: Approximately 14 hours.
Jury Polls: 8-0 for Plaintiff.

The Special Verdict Form

The verdict form that the jury completed can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

https://www.whistleblower-defense.com/files/2019/03/Lillie-v.-ManTech-Verdict-Form.pdf

  • The $1.505,561.00 Judgment on Special Verdict
  • The $1.505,561.00 Judgment on Special Verdict that was entered in the United States District Count for the Central District of California on April 8, 2019 can be accessed by clicking the link below

Click Here to View Judgment

The Whistleblower Plaintiff is currently appealing the District Court granting Defendant ManTech's Post-Trial Motion of Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL), or in the Alternative Motion for New Trial, which was filed in response to the federal jury awarding the Plaintiff the $1,505,563 jury verdict on all three of his California state and federal whistleblower claims in United States District Court. The case is being appealed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Case Number in 19-55891. The case is being heard at The Richard H. Chambers Courthouse, 125 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California 91105.

Commendation from the City of Lancaster signed by Mayor R. Rex Parris

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