A UC Irvine neurosurgeon won more than $2 million in a jury award in a whisteblower retaliation claim against the university’s hospital this week, an attorney said Tuesday.
Jurors reached a verdict on Monday after about a day and a half of deliberations in the lawsuit filed by Dr. Mark Linskey against the University of California regents and the former UCI Dean of the School of Medicine, attorney Mike Quigley said. The jury awarded Linskey $2,000,030.
The verdict clears the way for a second phase of the trial scheduled for July to determine if Linskey can have his status as a neurosurgeon in the hospital restored, Quigley said.
Linskey filed a grievance in March 2014 against a chairman of the department and the dean of the medical school “and within two weeks the retaliation started, moving him out of his department in neurosurgery, not allowing residents to work with him, all kinds of things like moving his offices,” Quigley said.
A new chair of the department took over in April 2012 “and for about a year he did a number of things to Dr. Linskey that led Dr. Linskey to file a grievance,” Quigley said.
“They cut his pay by 55 percent, removed him from general neurosurgery calls, moving him from vascular surgery — in essence, not allowing Dr. Linskey to do the surgeries he was doing, which was a great source of his referral service.”
The moves cut into his flow of new patients, Quigley said.
“The new chair was interfering with his ability to practice medicine and earn a living,” Quigley said.
Former Dean Ralph Clayman recruited Dr. Johnny Delashaw as chairman of the neurology department “to be a rainmaker, more patients, more volume, more money,” Quigley said, adding Delashaw ended up taking on most of the new patients himself.
“All the business was going to the new chair with all the blessing of the dean and the business people at the medical school… so Dr. Linskey tried to resolve this internally, administratively and he was finally told to file a grievance and then everything changed and they came after him,” Quigley said.
A UCI Medical Center spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.