Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K in Retaliation Case

Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K

In a dramatic conclusion to a legal battle reminiscent of a David vs. Goliath showdown, a federal jury awarded a whopping $900,000 to Tiffany Kessling, a former maxillofacial prosthodontist at Ohio State University (OSU). This landmark decision comes after Kessling accused the university and its dentistry school dean of retaliatory actions following her participation in an investigation into misconduct by a senior faculty member.

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Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K: A Six-Day Legal Marathon

Over six intense days, the jury weighed the evidence in Kessling’s retaliation lawsuit against OSU and Patrick Lloyd, the dean of OSU’s College of Dentistry. The verdict was a thunderous win for Kessling, with OSU held responsible for $600,000 in compensatory damages, while Lloyd owes an additional $300,000 for a First Amendment retaliation claim.

The Build-Up to the Courtroom Clash

U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison set the stage for this courtroom drama in November 2022. While she dismissed Kessling’s discrimination claims and several allegations against other faculty members, she recognized the gravity of Kessling’s retaliation claims, sending them to the jury’s discerning hands.

Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K : The Spark That Lit the Fire

Kessling’s tenure at OSU was marred by alleged discrimination and adverse actions. She claimed to have been paid less than male counterparts, faced discrimination during pregnancy, and experienced 20 retaliatory actions for her complaints. The tipping point was her participation in the 2018 investigation into Meade van Putten Jr., a senior clinical faculty member known for his hostility towards female employees and a history of workplace violence and discrimination complaints.

Retaliation Instead of Resolution

Kessling’s participation in the investigation against van Putten was met not with commendation but with a retaliatory campaign by the College of Dentistry and Lloyd. From being pressured for a shorter maternity leave to being restricted in her clinical duties, Kessling’s allegations painted a picture of a university more interested in silencing voices than addressing issues.

The Fallout and the Flight to a New Beginning

Despite the alleged hostile environment at OSU, Kessling didn’t immediately seek an exit. It wasn’t until the Veterans Health Administration offered her a more attractive position that she decided to leave OSU. Judge Morrison found that the alleged employment actions at OSU did not impact Kessling’s pay or job responsibilities, dismissing her claims of discrimination and constructive discharge.

Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K : The Silence from the Other Side

Requests for comments from the representatives of both parties went unanswered, leaving the jury’s verdict to speak volumes in the halls of justice.

Representing the Victorious: Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K

  • Frederick M. Gittes and Jeffrey P. Vardaro of The Gittes Law Group
  • Laren E. Knoll of the Knoll Law Firm LLC

The Defense Team: Jury Awards OSU Dentist $900K

  • Christina L. Corl of Plunkett Cooney