Jury awards $28M+ to 77-year-old former Cleveland Clinic physician alleging age discrimination led to firing

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

A Cuyahoga County (Ohio) jury awarded a 77-year-old former Cleveland Clinic physician more than $28 million April 27 following his claims the institution fired him because of his age, according to cleveland.com.

Robert Katz, MD, an ear, nose and throat physician, worked at the Cleveland Clinic for almost 20 years. In 2015, Dr. Katz said the chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Head & Neck Institute began pressuring him to retire, claiming he was "no longer a fit" for the hospital, and began steering his patients toward younger physicians, according to cleveland.com.

Dr. Katz said he complained to his direct supervisor and the health system's human resources department about the discriminatory behavior, but was reportedly told by hospital officials the institution would not reappoint his patients to him, the report states.

During the hearing April 27, a jury awarded Dr. Katz $1.95 million in economic compensatory damages, $325,000 in emotional distress damages and $26.38 million in punitive damages. However, a judge is required to significantly reduce the award because Ohio's tort reform laws cap the amount in punitive damages an individual may receive at twice the amount of the compensatory damages awarded, cleveland.com reports.

Cleveland Clinic has 30 days to appeal the judgment. A spokesperson for the health system told Becker's Hospital Review April 30, "Cleveland Clinic does not tolerate discrimination or retaliation. We are disappointed with the jury's verdict and will review the case to determine our next steps."

To access the report, click here.

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