September 28, 2023

Arkansas Ordered to Pay Legal Fees for Fired Worker in Food Allergy Whistle-blower Case

by admin in Food Allergy News0 Comments

The Arkansas Department of Human Services was ordered to pay the legal fees of a former State Hospital nurse who won her case against the agency after a jury found the state had violated the Arkansas Whistle-blower Act in a food allergy case. The state paid the nurse $40,000 and now must pay her attorney’s fees of $272,875 as well.

The case involved a nurse, Gloria Daniel from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who criticized how the State Hospital handled food allergies. The criticisms came after a mentally ill teenager died in 2010 from food allergy reactions in the hospital. The hospital subsequently fired Daniel for her open participation in an investigation into the child’s death.

It was claimed that the firing was “retaliation” by hospital Human Services administrator Charles Smith, who at the time was the hospital’s chief administrator and who bore the brunt of the media backlash to Daniel’s claims. The case eventually went to court and was decided by jury in March, who found in favor of Daniel.

Judge orders payment to whistle-blower’s lawyers.

After the trial win by Daniel, her attorneys they went forward to seek recompense for their own compensation. A circuit judge has awarded their fees of $272,875 as well, requiring the Arkansas Department of Human Services to pay up. They may appeal the decision.

The litigation went on for five years, during which time the legal team for nurse Daniel racked up $332,443 in costs over 979 hours of recorded time spent. The judge awarded 819 of those hours.

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