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Popick and Carlson Try Employment Case to Jury Verdict

A Chittenden Superior Court jury found in favor of LS&W client Lari Young, M.D. on her breach of contract claim against her former employer, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Inc. The jury awarded Dr. Young damages of $251,799, one of the larger Vermont jury verdicts in recent memory. Dr. Young was represented at trial by LS&W attorneys Hobart Popick and Tom Carlson.

Dr. Young was previously employed as a resident in the Department of Psychiatry at Fletcher Allen. She was also the mother of two young children, one of whom needed special parental attention for a period of time. When Dr. Young inquired about adjusting her residency schedule to accommodate that need, the Department’s Residency Director responded angrily with a variety of inappropriate comments epitomized by “We’re not here to train housewives.” Both Dr. Young and the Department were apparently rescued from that conflict by another member of the Department, who offered Dr. Young a one-year research fellowship position that would give her flexibility in her schedule and allow her to stay in the residency program. Dr. Young accepted the fellowship but it then failed to materialize, leaving her stranded in her medical training. It took her two years to get back into a residency track at another training hospital, where she had to start all over again.

Dr. Young brought suit for breach of employment contract and related claims. Following a three day trial, the jury returned a verdict in Dr. Young’s favor, finding that Fletcher Allen had breached its offer of employment to Dr. Young, and awarded Dr. Young damages equal to two years of her lost professional salary.

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