Ashland’s Whistleblower Vindicated in City’s Appeal

Federal Magistrate’s Discussion Regarding the Appeal of the Unanimous Jury Decision in Favor of the Plaintiff – the Whistleblower

I. Plaintiff’s burden at trial was to prove that he engaged in protected whistleblowing activity in 2017 and was wrongfully retaliated against for that activity.

II. Plaintiff presented substantial evidence for a reasonable juror to conclude that Plaintiff engaged in protected whistleblower activity in 2017.

The city’s only engineer submitted a notice to supervisors regarding the plans for the $32 million water treatment plant in February, 2017:

The Notice then listed the three deficiencies: (1) the failure to “allow for consideration of other, potentially · · more suitable water treatment plant sites”; (2) the failure to “carefully evaluate and address any adverse project impacts” that might arise from the contractor’s loss of a key employee; and (3) the failure “to competitively procure the engineering work on two of the four projects in the proposed contract.”

Based on the evidence presented at trial, a reasonable juror could find that Mr. Karns, Mr. Lohman, and Mr. Faught were all persons in supervisory positions that were previously unaware of the reported wrongdoing, and therefore conclude that Plaintiff made a protected “disclosure” under ORS 659A.203.

ORDER For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (#123) is DENIED

The jury decision for the whistleblower stands after this appeal.