Smith Mullin Verdicts
Donofrio v. Warren Township (2011) – Awarded $1.3 Million
Obtained a $1.3 Million jury verdict and $1.2 Million attorney’s fee award in a whistleblower case in which part-time municipal prosecutor blew the whistle on an abusive and drunk municipal judge.
Blue v. Hanover Direct (2009) – Awarded $2.48 Million
In 2009 Mr. Neil Mullin obtained a substantial jury verdict, in Blue v. Hanover Direct, a case involving whistleblowing by a CFO who objected to company efforts to cheat employees out of severance packages. The trial judge upheld the verdict and awarded fees including an enhancement of 30%.
Seddon v. DuPont (2011) – N.J. Supreme Court upholds Award of $1.2 Million
Obtained a $1.2 Million jury verdict for a whistleblower who was a chemical plant operator who blew the whistle on dangerous safety conditions. The whistleblower was retaliated against and suffered a disability. In this case the N.J. Supreme Court established that a victim of retaliation for whistle blowing is entitled to economic damages if the retaliation causes them to become disabled.
Shouldis v. Teaneck (2008) – Awarded $4.1 million
In December 2008, in Shouldis v. Teaneck, a case brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), Mr. Neil Mullin and Mr. James Burden, as co-counsel, obtained a jury verdict of $4.1 million on behalf of a police officer who suffered retaliation after testifying in favor of a female police officer subjected to sexual harassment. A settlement was reached with the Township of Teaneck prior to filing an application for attorneys’ fees.
DeVries and Carter v. Secaucus (2008) – Awarded $2.8 million
In May and June 2008, Mr. Neil Mullin and Ms. Nancy Erika Smith worked together at the trial of DeVries and Carter v. Secaucus, a sexual orientation discrimination case concerning an assault by Secaucus firemen upon a gay couple. The case established new law under the LAD and resulted in a verdict of $2.8 million. The matter settled before an application for attorneys’ fees was made.
Donelson and Seddon v. Dupont Chambers (2008) – Awarded $1,224,000
In January and February of 2008, Mr. Neil Mullin and Ms. Nancy Erika Smith worked together in the trial of Donelson, et al. v. DuPont Chambers Works, a CEPA case involving a whistleblower who objected to dangerous conditions at DuPont Chambers Works. They obtained a jury verdict of $724,000 in compensatory damages, $500,000 in punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees of $523,288.97. The award was reversed on appeal. Ms. Smith argued the case before the New Jersey Supreme Court on December 1, 2010. The firm won all issues on appeal.
ex rel. Pironti v. Schering-Plough Corp. – Awarded $345 million
In ex rel. Pironti v. Schering-Plough Corp. (Civil Action No. CV-98-5688), a qui tam case, Mr. Neil Mullin obtained a substantial relator’s award for three whistleblowers advancing a legal theory that led to a recovery of $345 million for the United States government in a False Claims Act case.
Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp. (2007) – Awarded $9,130,958
In January and February of 2007, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith and Mr. Neil Mullin worked together at the trial of Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., a glass ceiling gender discrimination case that resulted in a verdict of $9,130,958. The trial judge upheld the verdict and awarded attorneys’ fees of $1,398,796, including a contingency enhancement of 35%. Recently, the Supreme Court issued an opinion adopting plaintiff’s theory regarding the right of employees to share information with their lawyers. Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., 204 N.J. 239 (2010). The case is still pending.
Caggiano v. Fontoura (2004) – Awarded $4,047,188
In 2004, in Caggiano v. Fontoura, 354 N.J. Super. 111 (App. Div. 2002), Ms. Nancy Erika Smith obtained a published opinion in the Appellate Division affirming the validity of the “continuing violation” doctrine under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. In 2004, Mr. Neil Mullin and co-counsel tried the case against a public entity, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, obtaining a jury verdict of $3,047,188, vindicating the rights of a Sheriff’s Officer subjected to brutal sexual harassment. The trial court upheld the verdict, including punitive damages of $1 million, and awarded attorneys’ fees of $1,568,565.42, including a contingency enhancement of 40%.
Peacock v. Great Western Mortgage Co. (2001) – Awarded $1,608,900
In Peacock v. Great Western Mortgage Co., (Civil action No. CV-00-5451(NHP)), Mr. Neil Mullin obtained an arbitral verdict of $608,900 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages, in a sexual harassment case under the LAD.
Hennessey v. Bergen County (2001) – Awarded $1,472,000
In Hennessey v. Bergen County, a whistleblower case under CEPA, Mr. Neil Mullin achieved a jury verdict of $972,000 for compensatory damages and $500,000 for punitive damages, vindicating an Assistant Prosecutor who blew the whistle on corruption in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. The matter settled before Smith Mullin’s application for attorneys’ fees was decided.
Zacharias v. Whatman PLC (2001) – Awarded $3,855,000
In 2001, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith successfully argued in the Appellate Division regarding the statute of limitations under the LAD in an age discrimination case. Zacharias v. Whatman PLC, 345 N.J. Super. 218 (App. Div. 2001). Thereafter, Ms. Smith and Mr. Neil Mullin, as co-counsel, obtained a jury verdict of $3,855,000. The trial judge upheld the verdict and awarded fees of $1,036,781.20, including a contingency enhancement of 30%. Plaintiff had mitigated the risk of non-payment by making some payments toward fees.
McConkey v. AON (2000) – Awarded $6,063,000
In 2000, Mr. Neil Mullin obtained a substantial jury verdict in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County in McConkey v. AON, 354 N.J. Super. 25 (App. Div. 2002), certif. den. 175 N.J. 429 (2003) in a case involving fraud in the hiring of an insurance executive.
Gerardi v. Mul-T-Lock ( 2000) – Awarded $1.75 million
In June 2000, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith was lead counsel in Gerardi v. Mul-T-Lock, an LAD sexual harassment case. After a three week trial and closing arguments, the case settled for $1.75 million, which included an award of $750,000 in attorneys’ fees.
Kessler v. WWOR-TV (1999) – Awarded $7.3 million
In 1999, Mr. Neil Mullin and Ms. Nancy Erika Smith tried Kessler v. WWOR-TV, a discrimination and retaliation case that resulted in a jury verdict of $7.3 million. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded because of error in the jury interrogatories and because it determined that a witness was not really “unavailable.” The case settled before retrial.
Mehlman v. Mobil Oil Corp. (1998) – Awarded $10 million
In 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a $10,000,000 jury verdict in a whistleblower case, Mehlman v. Mobil Oil Corp., 153 N.J. 163 (1998), litigated and tried by Mr. Neil Mullin. Dr. Mehlman had blown the whistle on dangerously high Benzene levels of gasoline Mobil sold in Japan.
Rendine v. Pantzer (1994, 1995)
In 1994 and 1995 respectively, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith successfully argued a pregnancy discrimination case in the Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court, resulting in two published opinions regarding attorneys’ fees awards, punitive damage awards, emotional damage awards, severability, and jury charges in discrimination cases. See Rendine v. Pantzer, 141 N.J. 292 (1995).
Harmon v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc. (1994)
In 1994, Smith Mullin obtained an Appellate Division opinion regarding the privacy accorded to plaintiff’s financial records. See, Harmon v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc., 273 N.J. Super. 552 (App. Div. 1994).
Jorgensen v. Prudential (1994)
In 1994, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith litigated Jorgensen v. Prudential, a whistleblower case brought pursuant to New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”). The Prudential Insurance Company sought to remove the case claiming ERISA preempted the CEPA cause of action. Ms. Smith successfully defeated that removal and a published opinion was rendered by Judge Debevoise in favor of our client. See, Jorgensen v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 852 F.Supp. 255 (D.N.J. 1994). Shortly thereafter, the case was settled. The settlement had a significant public impact and was reported on the front page of The New York Times.
Landano v. Rafferty (1993)
Smith Mullin’s most notable pro bono work is Landano v. Rafferty, a case in which Neil Mullin, fought for 19 years (later joined by Nancy Erika Smith) to obtain and maintain the freedom of a man wrongfully convicted of murder. The case entailed numerous post-conviction relief hearings, 2 habeas corpus petitions, an ex parte federal court order seizing the files of the police and prosecutors (which ultimately resulted in Mr. Landano’s release from prison), followed by more state court evidentiary hearings. In total, there are 9 reported federal court opinions and 16 reported state court opinions in this case. Mr. Mullin argued in the United States Supreme Court regarding the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in ancillary litigation. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Landano’s position. U.S. Dept. of Justice v. Landano, 508 U.S. 165 (1993). This opinion led to Mr. Landano’s exoneration and ultimate freedom. Mr. Landano worked as a paralegal at Smith Mullin after he was freed. He lived for 13 happy years until he passed away from a heart attack.
Rathemacher v. IBM (1991)
In 1991, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith was able to obtain a successful jury verdict in Rathemacher v. IBM, an age discrimination case brought under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Plaintiff’s successful defeat of IBM’s summary judgment motion was reported at 1991 WL 574965 (D.N.J.), 57 FEP Cases 460 (January 7, 1991).
Green v. Carlin (1989)
In 1989, Ms. Nancy Erika Smith tried before Magistrate Stanley Chesler a retaliation case, Green v. Carlin, for a postal worker who refused to retaliate against a subordinate (who had filed an EEO Complaint). Magistrate Chesler ordered reinstatement, back pay and attorneys’ fees. The Honorable Harold Ackerman upheld the award on appeal. After reinstatement, her client suffered further retaliation, so a second lawsuit was filed. Judge Chesler mediated a settlement of the second case before trial.
Levinson v. Prentice Hall (1988) – Awarded $1,257,184
In 1988, Mr. Neil Mullin won a substantial jury verdict in the case of Levinson v. Prentice Hall, 868 F.2d 558 (3d Cir. 1989), a matter involving discrimination against a victim of multiple sclerosis.
Slohoda v. United Parcel Service (1984, 1986)
Slohoda v. United Parcel Service was one of the first cases that Ms. Nancy Erika Smith handled. It was a marital status discrimination case that resulted in two published Appellate Division opinions in favor of plaintiff: 193 N.J. Super. 586 (App. Div. 1984) and 207 N.J. Super. 145 (App. Div.), cert. denied, 104 N.J. 400 (1986). The latter opinion establishes the standard and method of proof in discrimination actions in New Jersey.