Trials and Settlements

Atwood v. MSA and Steve Young (whistleblower and discrimination)

$8.1 million jury verdict and over $1.5 million in attorney fees and costs

In October 2017, a Benton County jury awarded Julie Atwood damages in the amount of $8.1 million against Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) for whistleblower retaliation and discrimination. The jury also found that MSA Vice President and Kennewick Mayor Steve Young aided and abetted in MSA’s wrongful actions. The jury awarded $2.1 million in lost wages, and $6 million in emotional harm damages, which was based on nonmedical and medical testimony.



February 11, 2019

Spokane, WA

Today, Julie Atwood responded to MSA and Steve Young’s opening brief on appeal at Division 3 of the Washington State Court of Appeals.  In her brief, Ms. Atwood outlined the mountain of facts supporting the jury’s $8.1 million verdict in October 2018.  Ms. Atwood observed that MSA and Young “chose not to appeal any of those meaty issues [that one typically expects to see in a valid appeal of a jury’s verdict when error was committed during the trial], because [those issues] were correctly and thoughtfully decided by the jury and a hard-working, diligent, and intelligent trial judge [the Honorable Douglas Federspiel], whose well-reasoned written rulings make the case iron clad on appeal. What’s left for MSA and Young to appeal are mainly evidentiary objections.”

MSA and Young get to file a reply brief in 30 days and Ms. Atwood has asked that oral argument be expedited.  The date of oral argument will be set later this month.

On February 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against MSA and former CEO Jorge Armijo alleging that MSA and Armijo knowingly made false statements to the Department of Energy about their profits and inflated their rates in violation of the False Claims Act.  The lawsuit also alleges that Armijo and other MSA executives were paid more than $1 million by a subcontractor in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act.  The U.S. Attorney stated, “Fraud, corruption, and self-dealing at Hanford will simply not be tolerated.”

Jack Sheridan said, “we understand that MSA was seeking to rebid the DOE contract at Hanford.  The combination of Ms. Atwood’s jury verdict and the DOJ’s lawsuit may disqualify MSA as a competitive applicant on the rebid, which would demonstrate the importance of the judicial branch in regulating improper behavior by big businesses, and in ensuring that the People’s money is properly and honestly spent to benefit the People.”

Click here to see Julie Atwood’s responsive brief on appeal

Click here to see Masters Law Group brief on behalf of MSA and Young

Click here to see DOJ press release on MSA Armijo fraud case

Click here to see Tri-City Herald Article on federal lawsuit

MSA And Steve Young Get Extension On Filing Their Brief in Their Appeal of The Julie Atwood $8.1 Million Whistleblower Verdict And The $1.5 Million Attorney Fee Award—MSA Posted $10.5 Million Bond On Order of Court To Cover Interest And Attorney Fees On Appeal


Kennewick, WA

October 9, 2018

Today the Court of Appeals granted MSA’s and Steve Young’s request for an extra sixty-days to file their opening brief in their appeal of Julie Atwood’s $8.1 million verdict against them for retaliation and discrimination.  Their notices of appeal take a shotgun approach claiming that virtually every ruling by the trial court was in error.  Jack Sheridan said, “a shotgun approach often means that the defendants have no valid appeal; otherwise, they would target one or two real errors.  We see no errors in the record and we are looking forward to seeing their brief.”

Every day of delay comes with interest on the verdict and on the attorney fee judgment, which could easily bring the total judgments with interest (and attorney fees on appeal) to over $10 million dollars.  To delay Ms. Atwood’s ability to collect the judgment amounts immediately, MSA had to post a bond, which was initially found to be deficient, and was increased to $10,437.862.17 by court order.

Jack said, “now their brief is due just before Christmas, so we will have to ask for an extension ourselves owing to the holidays and another trial I have in January. We are still hoping to have oral argument in the spring of 2019.”

Click here to see Atwood $8.1 million Judgment on jury verdict

Click here to see Atwood $1.5 million judgment on attorney fees and costs

Click here to see order granting plaintiff’s motion to have supersedeas bond ruled deficient

Click here to see MSA/Young first notice of appeal

Click here to see MSA/Young 2nd Notice of Appeal

Click here to see Order granting MSA/Young motion for 60-day extension

Judge Rejects MSA’s Motion for a New Trial and Awards Attorney Fees and Costs To Julie Atwood

January 10, 2018
Kennewick, WA

Today Julie Atwood won another victory against MSA and Steve Young, when Superior Court Judge Doug Federspiel denied MSA’s motion for a new trial, and awarded attorney fees and costs to Ms. Atwood.

Mission Support Alliance is three-company venture owned by Leidos, Jacobs and Centerra Group.  MSA had sought to overturn the $8.1 million jury verdict against MSA entered on October 10, 2017 for gender discrimination, wrongful discharge, and retaliation, which included a verdict against MSA Vice President (and Kennewick mayor) Steve Young for aiding and abetting the discrimination and retaliation.

In a detailed 56-page opinion, Judge Federspiel reviewed and rejected each argument raised by MSA against the verdict.  He found that the verdict was supported by substantial evidence presented at trial and that it was not a result of passion or prejudice.  He also awarded extra attorney fees and costs finding that “the [extra] attorneys’ fee incurred by her legal team [are being] awarded by this Court due to the risk of loss to the Sheridan firm had the jury returned a defense verdict, the complex nature of the factual issues, the skill of Atwood’s counsel, and the Court’s desire to encourage other attorneys to take cases such as this one. The relevant factors stated are supported by the record.”

Jack said, “Justice was done.”  “We are thankful that our trial judge took the time to closely examine the law and the facts, and to bring this case to an end.”  He noted that, “rather than treating Julie as required by law, MSA discriminated and retaliated against her, and rather than admitting to what they did, MSA paid Seattle attorneys to defend and deny their actions.  “It took years to bring this case to trial.  Justice may not always be swift, but justice happens all the same.  Julie Atwood is truly vindicated, and MSA and Steve Young have truly been held accountable for their misconduct.”

Click here to see Court’s 56-page opinion

Boyer v. State (disability discrimination)



Jury verdict of over $75,000.  Attorney fees award $300,000.
Thurston County jury awarded a former State Department or Revenue employee damages totaling $75,000 for terminating him in 2009, after failing to accommodate his disabilities.  Grant Boyer suffers from a form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which requires that he have immediate access to bathroom facilities.  His IBS was a complication stemming from a 1993 gall bladder surgery.  In 1999, he was also diagnosed with carpel tunnel syndrome. He worked as an appraiser in DOR’s Olympia office from 1999 to 2008 with both disabilities and was evaluated as an excellent employee.  During that time he used Dragon Speak software to enter data into his computer and needed no accommodation for the IBS, because his building had a sufficient number of bathrooms.  In 2008, he took a job with DOR in its Richland  office.  Upon his arrival in March 2008, he learned that the building had only one stall in the men’s bathroom, which was shared by all male DOR employees and the public, and that the computer network was too slow to use Dragon Speak.  He asked for accommodation, proposing at one point that he be allowed to work from home, or to have DOR obtain a porta potty for his exclusive use, or build him bathroom.  DOR refused and did nothing to accommodate his IBS. Jack Sheridan, his attorney, stated, “As a result, if the stall was occupied, Grant had about 10 minutes to find a bathroom or he would become incontinent.  He would typically try to drive to a nearby mall to use their public restroom—sometimes he made it and sometimes he didn’t.”  As to the carpal tunnel syndrome, instead of fixing the network, so his Dragon Speak would work, Sheridan said, “they offered him training in using Dragon Speak, which he’d been using for 5 years.  He didn’t need training, he needed a working infrastructure.” As a result Mr. Boyer developed an anxiety disorder, and went out on leave in November.  Sheridan said, “When Grant asked them to move him into a vacant position in Olympia in September, they said no, because they claimed the job required some travel and he couldn’t travel.” DOR managers made the claim after he drove repeatedly from Richland to Tumwater to meet with the DOR Risk Manger.   Sheridan said, “He was humiliated and beaten down.”  When he tried to return in 2009, the infrastructure problems were still not fixed and DOR terminated him in December 2009 claiming they could not accommodate him.



Brundridge et. al v. Fluor Federal Services, et. al (whistleblower)

Jury verdict for plaintiffs of over $4.7 million

Total recovery over
$6.3 million

Benton County Case No. 99-2-01250-7.  Eleven plaintiff whistleblower case finally brought to trial after extensive delays. Jack called more than 50 witnesses, most of whom where company employees who were hostile to the plaintiffs. Some of the plaintiffs are pipe fitters who had been laid off for refusing to install an underrated valve in a system that would ultimately carry nuclear waste. Other plaintiffs were pipe fitters who were laid off after speaking out in support of the original plaintiffs. The jury awarded over $4.7 million in damages. See jury verdict form. Plaintiffs were awarded an additional $1.5 million in attorney fees.  See the attorney fee judgment and the order denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case. Also see the Seattle Post Intelligencer coverage. 
For more coverage link to: Confined Space

Chaussee v. State of Washington (whistleblower)

Recent $1 Million Emotional Harm Whistleblower Jury Verdict

A Thurston County jury awarded Steve Chaussee, a carpenter foreperson working for the ferries, $1,000,000 for emotional harm damages he suffered over a period of about eight years after he was perceived by his management to have blown the whistle on another ferry worker who was leaving work early to coach baseball and charging for a full day.

After the verdict, Jack said,“Steve is very pleased. The State needed to be held accountable. Once they got it in their heads that Steve was the whistleblower they demoted him two levels—from foreperson to journey level—which was unprecedented”, and “This verdict should send a message to state bureaucrats that they will be held accountable for whistleblower retaliation. This verdict makes it cost effective to protect whistleblowers and to fix the problems they report.”

Click here to see Chaussee – Jury  Verdict form

Click here to see Court’s findings of fact of attorney fees

Cole v. King County (disability discrimination)

Jury verdict of over $187,000.00

King County Case No. 92-2-05963-1. Disability discrimination case brought under state law. Case was won on Jack’s cross-examination of adverse witnesses.

Duggan v. American Remodeling Inc. (sexual harassment)



Confidential settlement before trial Sexual harassment case brought under state and federal law. Case involved classic sexual harassment at work by supervisor.


Fadaie v. Alaska Air (whistleblower)



Confidential settlement before trial Federal District Court, Seattle, No. C03-2421L. Whistleblower case brought by former maintenance supervisor alleging he was fired after he challenged management’s assertions to the FAA that a tool conformity audit ordered by the FAA following the crash of Flight 261 in January 2000, had been completed. As part of settlement, company CEO agreed to sign letter of apology to Mr. Fadaie (look for typo). Other terms are confidential. See newspaper articles: Seattle Post Intelligencer and Seattle Times.


Farhamy v. Publicis, Inc. (religious discrimination)



Confidential settlement before trial King County Superior Court No. 03-2-22133-3 SEA, suit for discriminatory termination based on religion.


Goh v. American President Lines, LTD. (race discrimination)



Confidential settlement before trial King County Superior Court No. 02-2-29670-0 SEA, suit for discriminatory termination and denial of promotion based on race; confidential settlement after Defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on signed waiver was denied.


Gonzalez v. University of Washington (same sex sexual harassment )



Confidential settlement before trial Same sex sexual harassment case brought under state law. Case involved harassment by supervisor.  Case settled after plaintiff was deposed on strength of his deposition testimony.


Hairston v. City of Seattle (race discrimination)



Jury verdict of $400,000.00 for emotional distress. Plaintiff employed by City at time of trial so no lost wages claimed King County Case No. 95-2-01141-1SEA. Race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case brought under state law.  Multi-week trial. Jack called multiple adverse witnesses on his case and attacked their credibility through his cross-examination.


Ibarbia-Ifft v. Peninsula College (national origin/race discrimination )



$250,000.00 settlement before trial Tacoma Fed. Dist. Ct. No. C97-5134FDB. National origin/race discrimination case brought under federal and state civil rights laws. Case involved failure to grant tenure to Philippine professor. Case settled after Jack deposed plaintiff’s supervisor.


Lawrence v. Key Arena/ City of Seattle (disability discrimination)



Confidential settlement before trial King County Superior Court No. 99-2-07990-6 SEA. This is another disability access case brought on behalf of Joanne Lawrence, who is an advocate for the disabled. Key Arena settled the case and made the improvements sought by Ms. Lawrence.  Another good fight for equal public access.


Lawrence v. Tacoma Dome (disability discrimination)



Confidential settlement before trial Tacoma Fed. Dist. Ct. No. C96-5745RJB. Disability access case brought on behalf of Joanne Lawrence, who is an advocate for the disabled. This case settled before trial resulting in consent decree requiring Tacoma Dome to make significant changes to accommodate disabled patrons under a timetable with ongoing court supervision. This case was a significant factor in providing better concert access at the Dome.


Lockwood v. Office of Administrative Hearings, State of Washington (disability discrimination)



$250,000 settlement before trial King County Case No. 96-2-30410-7SEA. Disability discrimination case brought under state law involving client with chemical sensitivity.


Martini v. Boeing (disability discrimination)



Jury verdict of $776,000. Total recovery with attorney fees after Boeing lost appeal of more than $1.4 million. 137 Wash. 2d 357, 971 P.2d 45 (1999); 88 Wash. App. 442, 945 P.2d 248 (Div. I, 1997); King County Case No. 93-2-17162-5. Disability discrimination case brought under state law. Jack took this case after almost every Seattle attorney who practices in this area turned down Luke Martini for representation because he quit his job, which under federal law, could cut off damages.  Jury Verdict of approximately $776,000.00 after multi-week trial. Total recovery +$1.4 million. Jack made new law on appeal (see appellate page).  Now in Washington victims of discrimination do not have to stay in a discriminatory environment.  Instead, they can quit, sue, and still recover full damages.  


Nonog v. City of Seattle (race discrimination)



$200,000 settlement before trial King County Case No.03-2-15614-1 SEA , is a race discrimination case brought against Seattle City Light. Mr. Nonog, who is a Filipino American, was passed over for promotion in favor of a less qualified Caucasian then required to train the new hire. His job duties were curtailed over time and his position was eventually eliminated.The City agreed to have judgment entered against the defendants for $200,000.00 plus attorney fees rather than have the case proceed to trial (click here for offer of judgment).
For more coverage link to: AsianWeek
Also see: Seattle Times Article. His case and the press coverage appears to have resulted in a Dilbert comic, which you can find at:  Then search for “new senior engineer”.  You can buy it if you like.
Pham and Lara v. Seattle City Light (race discrimination)



Jury verdict of over $550,000. Total recovery after extensive appeal almost $1 million. King County Case No. 97-2-11669-4 SEA. Race discrimination case brought under state law. Multi-week trial resulting in jury verdict of more than $550,000.00 prejudgment interest of more than $37,000, court-awarded attorney fees and costs of over $339,000.

The trial judge awarded an additional $168,000 to compensate the plaintiffs for the additional tax burden of the lump sum verdict and awarded additional attorney fees pursuant to Blaney v. International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, 114 Wn. App. 80; 55 P.3d 1208 (2002).

After appeal, the trial just granted additional monies to the plaintiffs and awarded a multiplier of attorney fees because Jack took such a high-risk case. 


Tamosaitis v. URS (whistleblower)

Whistleblower Win: 4.1 million dollar settlement before trial.

Federal District Court, Eastern District, No. CV-11-5157-LRS.  Dr. Tamosaitis agreed to a settlement of his federal retaliation lawsuit against Hanford contractor URS for $4.1 million dollars. The settlement came almost one year before the case was set for a jury trial in federal district court in Richland, WA.

After the settlement, Jack said “We are very pleased that Walter can get on with his life after five years of litigation, and that he has been vindicated. This settlement sends a message to whistleblowers everywhere that integrity and truth are worth fighting for, and that you can win if you don’t give up.”

Tom Carpenter, Director of Hanford Challenge, a public interest group that helps whistleblowers from Hanford, commented, “This is great news for Walt and great news for the public. Walt is a hero who staked his career to raise nuclear safety issues that could have resulted in a catastrophe down the road. His issues were investigated and validated, and those safety issues are being scrutinized and corrected. This settlement brings justice to Walt, and is a necessary step in the quest to address a broken safety culture at Hanford that has historically punished employees for bringing forward concerns.”

Tamosaitis Amended opinion v1

Click here to see URS signed settlement agreement

Click here to see Tamosaitis signature on settlement agreement

Click her to see 2015 amended complaint–not filed owing to settlment

Click here to see LA Times article

Click here to see NY Times article

Click here to see Tri-City Herald article

Click here to see and hear NPR story

Click here to see 2013 Newsweek article on Tamosaitis and Hanford

Trinh Rodriguez & Bailey v. Seattle City Light (race discrimination)



Jury verdict of over $1.4 million.  Total recovery after attorney fees and interest on appeal of over $2.5 million.
King County Case No. 04-2-26460-0 SEA, Three plaintiff race discrimination/hostile work environment case against Seattle City Light, which is a public utility and a department of the City of Seattle.  After a 6 week trial, the jury awarded Trinh and Bailey $1.48 million in damages.  Later, the trial judge awarded plaintiffs more than $700,000.00 in attorney fees and costs.Click here to view trial coverage by the Seattle Timesand Seattle Post Intelligencer.  Click here to view theTrinh judgment and verdict and the Bailey judgment and verdict documents.

Mr. Rodriquez’ case concluded before trial after the City filed an “Offer of Judgment” for $125,000, which allows a defendant to offer a sum of money in exchange for having a judgment entered against them for the amount offered. Under Court Rules, the plaintiff does not have to take the offer, but Mr. Rodriguez chose to do so.  Clickhere to view the Rodriguez judgment.


Trussler v. State of Washington (retaliation)

Jury verdict of $1.2 million and attorney fees of $571,000.

In June 2018, in Trussler v. Washington, a King County  jury awarded Plaintiff Stacy Trussler, a former Washington State Department Of  Transportation Director, $1.2 million in damages and recommended that she be reinstated to a comparable position at WSDOT with protections against further retaliation. Of that verdict, $700,000 was for non-medical emotional harm caused by the State’s wrongful acts.