On December 10, 2012, Linda Miller Savitt and Gordon N. Kojima received a defense verdict in Grace Hechanova v. Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center. Plaintiff Hechanova alleged wrongful termination in violation of public policy, unlawful retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Although Hechanova was hired by Gateways Hospital as a Case Aide, she transferred to a position of Licensed Vocational Nurse where she oversaw the Medication Room. Hechanova was terminated during her introductory period after only nine weeks for her poor performance, failure to follow directions, acts of insubordination and a general hostility towards her Supervisor.

She claimed that her termination was in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment on behalf of Alvin Pierce, Jr., a Residential Manager who was Hechanova’s best friend and former business partner. Gateways Hospital denied all allegations and presented evidence at trial to demonstrate that many of the facts asserted by Grace Hechanova and Alvin Pierce were fabricated. Hechanova sought lost wages for a period of three years, emotional distress damages of $500,000, unspecified punitive damages and attorney’s fees. After a 10-day trial, the jury deliberated one hour before returning a verdict in favor of Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center.

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