Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. won sanctions on Aug. 15, 2016 against an ex-employee and dismissal of her federal and state disability claims.
U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark also awarded Novartis summary judgment on five of its eight affirmative claims against the plaintiff, as well as sanctions against her husband/business partner for failure to comply with ordered discovery and for false testimony.
The court said the suit is "predicated on a willful, determined effort by this Plaintiff to deceive Defendant and this Court. Plaintiff misstated her employment history, outside consulting, sources of income, business interests and even her name when it suited her purpose."
MARC partners John B. McCusker and Patricia Prezioso, of counsel Suzanne M. Murphy, and associates Patrice LeTourneau and Bianca M. Olivadoti represented Novartis.
The plaintiff claimed she was discriminated and retaliated against on the basis of neck and back issues when she was not permitted to work from home more than two days a week. She sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
MARC’s attorneys found that the plaintiff jointly owned a specialty pharmaceutical company while at Novartis and misrepresented herself during the employment application process.
Novartis asserted counterclaims for, among other things, fraud, breach of contract, breach of duty of loyalty, and conflict of interest
Finding that the plaintiff's conduct increased Novartis' legal expenses, the court awarded sanctions to prevent her from "continuing to litigate frivolous claims and provid[e] an object lesson to future litigants."
As to Novartis' affirmative claims, the court found the plaintiff liable based on fraud for misrepresentations on her employment application. The court further found she breached contractual obligations by accepting and failing to disclose outside employment and violated her duty of loyalty when she impermissibly competed with Novartis by soliciting and accepting consulting positions elsewhere.
Read the ruling, Afoluso Adesanya v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.