Court Tosses Punitive Damages in Iowa Case

August 7, 2013

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled a Dubuque care center unfairly fired an employee who witnessed supervisors forging documents, but the court says the woman shouldn’t have received punitive damages.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported the ruling Friday eliminated the $178,500 punitive damage award jurors gave to Karen Dorshkind.

An award of $178,500 in compensatory damages, including payments for lost pay, benefits and emotional distress, still stands.

Dorshkind was fired after she relayed her suspicion to superiors about heath care document forging and a relationship between two employees.

A state investigation later concluded documents had been forged and the facility was fined $10,000.

The court ruled Dorshkind was protected from being fired for reporting a possible state law violation, but the jurors shouldn’t have been allowed to award punitive damages.

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