California’s leading legal newspaper, the Daily Journal, has recognized the outstanding success of attorneys Chris Dolan and Anne Costin in Williams v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership as one of the Top Plaintiffs’ Verdicts in California for 2016.
Patricia Williams was a time share sales representative for Wyndham Vacation Ownership. She was fired after protesting sales practices which were elder financial abuse.
“There were straight-up fraudulent promises of full price buybacks,” Chris told the Daily Journal. Evidence presented at trial revealed showed that Wyndham’s sales practices included “TAFT” days, which stands for “Tell Them Any F@#*ing Thing” days, where employees were encouraged to say anything to make a sale as long as they didn’t put it in writing. The highest selling sales agent was quoted as saying, “I sold my soul to the devil. I can say whatever I want so long as I don’t put it in writing, that’s why Wyndham has good lawyers.”
Williams brought two causes of action: (1) wrongful termination in violation of public policy and (2) violation of California Labor Code section 1102.5 (which prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information that the employee has reasonable cause to believe discloses a violation of state or federal law). The jury found in favor of Williams on both causes of action and returned a $20 million verdict.
The case took over 5 years to get to trial and lasted a month. Costin, a former associate of the Dolan Law Firm who started her own solo practice, asked Chris to co-counsel and try the case with her. “As a colleague and a mentor, it was an honor to work with Anne on this case,” Chris informed the Daily Journal. “We have a legal Vulcan mind meld. When I am about to ask her for a document, she hands it to me before I can speak.” Costin added, “Chris trained me how to be a lawyer.”