Jury Finds Brigham and Women’s Hospital Guilty of Retaliation Against Nurse

King & Spalding

On May 23, 2018, a jury in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston, Massachusetts, found Brigham and Women’s Hospital guilty of retaliation and awarded $28 million to a nurse.

In 2014, two Haitian-American nurses, Gessy Toussaint and Nirva Berthold, jointly brought suit against Brigham and Women’s Hospital (the Hospital). Berthold alleged that after applying for a higher paying position in 2013, the Hospital turned her down because she was black. Toussaint, 70, claimed that after she stood up for Berthold, the Hospital retaliated against her. The court separated Toussaint’s claims from Berthold’s claims, which are scheduled to be heard later this year.

During the two-week trial on Toussaint’s claims of discrimination and retaliation, Toussaint alleged that after standing up for Berthold, the Hospital began investigating Toussaint for complaints regarding her work. The Hospital did not address any complaints with Toussaint prior to her defending Berthold.

The jury found for the Hospital on the discrimination claims; however, it awarded Toussaint $463,000 in lost wages, $2.75 million for emotional distress and $25 million in punitive damages. Brigham and Women’s Hospital plans to appeal the $28 million dollar verdict.

The case is Gessy Toussaint et al. v. Brigham and Women’s Hospital et al., 2014 WL 3639029, No. SUCV2014-2253 (Mass. Sup. Ct., filed 6/15/2014).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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