Gold Weems Employment Litigation Team Wins Whistleblower Case and Attorneys’ Fees

August 28, 2023

After a week-long jury trial in St. Martin Parish in March 2023, the Gold Weems Employment Litigation Team won a jury verdict in an employment Whistleblower lawsuit.  The case was filed by a former employee, Ron Foster, against the State of Louisiana’s Dept. of Culture Recreation and Tourism (the “DCRT”), who relied on La. Rev. Stat. 23:967, Louisiana’s Whistleblower statute, to protect his conduct.  Mr. Foster claimed the DCRT discharged Mr. Foster for making safety complaints to Atchafalaya Welcome Center manager, Brandy Landry.

The Gold Weems litigation team included Steven M. Oxenhandler, M. Allison Johnson, Joshua J. Dara, Jr., and Jessica Poole.  After a week of witness testimony and documentary evidence, needing only 15 minutes to deliberate, the Jury returned a verdict in favor of the DCRT, totally rejecting Mr. Foster’s claims.  Importantly, the Jury found the DCRT did not violate state law, a requirement in any Whistleblower case.  As a result of the Jury’s verdict, the DCRT sought attorneys’ fees and costs, which the Whistleblower Statute permits for a prevailing employer, specifically when a jury finds no violation of state law.  Significantly, on August 28, 2023, the Court granted the DCRT’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs.  The Court’s decision to award the DCRT attorneys’ fees and costs will serve as a future deterrent against frivolous lawsuits.