The cases described below are only a few of the many in which Katz, Marshall & Banks attorneys have won important victories for their clients. Many of our most successful outcomes are not reportable here because we were able to achieve them privately through negotiation, often before taking legal action on a client’s behalf, and the terms of settlement are confidential. Whenever possible, we make every reasonable effort to resolve disputes quickly and privately so as to avoid the stress and potential reputational harm that litigation can cause our clients.
Thirteen United Flight Attendants v. United Airlines
Katz, Marshall & Banks represents thirteen former flight attendants in a charge of unlawful retaliation filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. United fired all thirteen employees in October 2014 for refusing to fly a fully boarded Boeing 747 from San Francisco to Hong Kong after discovery of a potential bomb threat written in graffiti high on the fuselage of the plane. United claimed it would take too long to conduct a security sweep of the aircraft as the flight attendants requested. The flight attendants seek reinstatement, back pay and damages under the federal aviation whistleblower law, which protects airline workers who refuse to fly in the face of what they reasonably believe is a threat to the safety or security of a flight.
Feminists United on Campus and Six College Students v. Mary Washington University
In May 2015, University of Mary Washington student group Feminists United, along with the Feminist Majority Foundation and individual students, filed a Title IX sex discrimination complaint against the Virginia university with the U.S. Department of Education. The complaint, filed just weeks after the murder of Grace Mann, a leader of Feminists United, alleges that the university failed to protect the group’s members against sex-based stalking, cyber stalking and cyber assault through the anonymous social media application Yik Yak. Katz, Marshall & Banks represents the complainants in demanding that the university take meaningful action to protect students against sex-based harassment and assault.
Lt. Col. Jason Amerine v. U.S. Department of the Army
Katz, Marshall & Banks represents Lt. Col. Jason Amerine in a complaint against the U.S. Army for retaliating against him after he expressed concerns to Congress about the government’s hostage-retrieval efforts in Afghanistan. The complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General, alleges that top Army officials launched an unfounded criminal investigation of Amerine for supposedly disclosing classified information.
Title IX Case Against the University of Colorado, Boulder (2014)
The University of Colorado-Boulder paid $825,000 to settle the claims of a Ph.D. student in the philosophy department who complained of a sexually hostile academic environment and of retaliation by a tenured professor after the university’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment had validated her claims. In connection with the settlement, CU-Boulder took steps to support the complainant’s academic career, and the school’s Chancellor issued a video statement underscoring the university’s commitment to Title IX compliance and outlining a series of reforms university-wide
Unites States of America ex rel. Tracy Lovvorn v. Extendicare Health Services, Inc. (2014)
A nationwide nursing home company paid $10 million to settle a False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit alleging that the company’s skilled nursing facilities were billing Medicare for excessive therapy services without regard for patients’ needs. The court awarded Katz, Marshall & Banks client Tracy Lovvorn some $1.8 million as here share of the settlement, and Extendicare paid Lovvorn another $990,000 to resolve Lovvorn’s claims for retaliation and attorneys’ fees.
Mills v. District of Columbia (2014)
The District of Columbia fired D.C. Public Schools Food Services Director Jeffrey Mills after he blew the whistle on poor food quality and fraud in the District’s contract with a food services provider. Katz, Marshall & Banks represented Mills in a lawsuit against the District for unlawful retaliation in violation of the anti-retaliation provisions of the D.C. False Claims Act and the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, and obtained a settlement for Mills in the amount of $450,000. Mills also served as the relator in a separate qui tam lawsuit against the food services provider.
United States of America ex rel. Michael Lindley v. The Gallup Organization (2013)
The polling and market-research company paid $10.5 million to resolve allegations by former employee and Katz, Marshall & Banks client Michael Lindley that the company had overbilled U.S. government millions of dollars for labor costs in a number of market-research contracts. Lindley’s qui tam lawsuit also alleged that Gallup had won a contract from FEMA at the same time it was recruiting a high-level agency official to join the company. Lindley received $1,929,363 as his share of the government’s settlement with the company, and was also able to resolve his claim that Gallup fired him unlawfully for trying to stop fraud on the government.
Ferrigan v. City of Boca Raton, Florida (2014)
Katz, Marshall & Banks client Christine Ferrigan settled her long-running whistleblower lawsuit against the City of Boca Raton for $537,500 the day before trial was set to begin. Ferrigan had worked as a Utilities Coordinator for the City for over 20 years, and was fired after she reported potential threats to the safety of the city’s drinking-water and waste-water treatment systems. Ferrigan alleged that the city of Boca Raton had terminated her in violation of the Florida Whistleblower Act.
United States of America ex rel. James Gordon v. ArmorGroup North America (2011)
ArmorGroup North America and its affiliates paid $7.5 million to resolve allegations that they had made false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The qui tam whistleblower suit was filed by Katz, Marshall & Banks client James Gordon under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
Barrett v. Chreky (2009)
A federal court jury awarded Katz, Marshall & Banks client Ronnie Barrett $300,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages in her sexual harassment and retaliation suit against Andre Chreky and the Andre Chreky Salon, one of the top-rated salons in Washington, D.C. Mr. Chreky was the hairdresser to former First Lady Laura Bush. Ms. Barrett was a former hair colorist at the salon.
Romdhani et al. v. Exxon-Mobil Corp. (2009)
Katz, Marshall & Banks represented gas station manager Sofiene Romdhani and cashiers Michelle Maloney and Bobbijo Zeller in a lawsuit alleging that their Exxon-Mobil supervisors subjected them to religious and racial harassment and discrimination, and then retaliated against them when they complained. After the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware denied Exxon’s motion for summary judgment at the conclusion of or pre-trial discovery, the company agreed to a confidential settlement with the three plaintiffs.
Wynne v. Birach, 2009 WL 3672119 (E.D. Va. 2009)
Katz, Marshall & Banks won a default judgment in the amount of $1,566,666 against a defendant in a suit for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and breach of contract under the law of Virginia. The plaintiff alleged that she was forced into a constructive discharge as a result of the defendant subjecting her to severe and pervasive sexual harassment and directing her to submit false statements to a lending institution.
Richard Pullman v. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2009)
Smithsonian electrician and lighting specialist Richard Pullman filed a whistleblower action alleging that management at the Air and Space Museum had retaliated against him for speaking out about dangerous levels of asbestos in the museum’s walls. The Smithsonian admitted it had known about the asbestos since 1993 but had not told the workers about the problem. The law firm negotiated a successful settlement with the museum.
Joe Walters v. Deutsche Bank (2009)
Katz, Marshall & Banks won a groundbreaking decision in Walters v. Deutsche Bank that expanding the coverage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s whistleblower provisions. The case settled shortly thereafter.
Davies v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2008)
In a whistleblower complaint filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Army Corps of Engineers employee Art Davies alleged that the Corps had retaliated against him for reporting waste of federal funds and various other violations of the law. After the OSC agreed that Davies had suffered retaliation, Katz, Marshall & Banks settled that portion of his case for a cash payment of $265,000. The firm then appealed another portion of the case to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Corps of Engineers settled again, this time agreeing to a settlement worth additional hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, benefits, attorneys’ fees, and backpay, and a promotion for Davies.
Desmond v. Mukasey, (2008)
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision granting summary judgment in the case of an FBI employee who alleged in a complaint filed by Katz, Marshall & Banks that he was discriminated and retaliated against because of his post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
Oscarson v. Office of Senate Sergeant at Arms (2008)
Wendy Oscarson, a federal employee, sued the Office of Senate Sergeant at Arms for disability discrimination. After the district court denied the Senate’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the Senate sought an interlocutory appeal from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal and allowed Ms. Oscarson to proceed with her case. The Senate then resolved the matter with Ms. Oscarson.
Capitol Tunnel Workers v. Architect of the Capitol (2007)
Katz, Marshall & Banks attorneys represented ten U.S. Capitol tunnel workers in a whistleblower retaliation complaint against the Architect of the Capitol. The workers charged the Architect with harassing and threatening them after they alerted Congress to the life-threatening levels of asbestos in the utility tunnels that run beneath the U.S. Capitol. In June 2007, the workers obtained a substantial out-of-court settlement.
Blanton v. Biogen Idec, Inc., Case No. 2006-SOX-4, DOL OALJ (April 18, 2006)
In a whistleblower case brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Katz, Marshall & Banks defeated Biogen Idec’s motion for a protective order to block the deposition of CEO James Mullen. Blanton, who was the pharmaceutical company’s chief reimbursement expert, charged that she lost her job retaliation for complaints about illegal kickbacks to physicians.
Roger Barnes v. Fannie Mae (2004)
The Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed allegations made by Roger Barnes, a former Fannie Mae accounting manager, that the mortgage-finance giant had cooked its books and retaliated against him for complaining about it. As a result of Mr. Barnes’ disclosures, Fannie Mae restated its earnings and removed the company’s CEO and other top executives from their positions. Fannie Mae’s restatement of earnings was one of the largest in U.S. history, and Barnes received a sizable settlement.