The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association has named Chris Dolan and Anne Costin as finalists for its 2017 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. The award winner will be announced on April 6, 2017, at a dinner in San Francisco.
The Trial Lawyer of the Year Award is given to plaintiffs’ counsel that achieved a noteworthy trial result based on a combination of the size of verdict, stakes in controversy, and the rights and interests of society that were advanced.
The case for which Chris and Anne have been selected as finalists is the whistleblower and wrongful termination lawsuit Williams v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Patricia Williams, a time share sale representative for Wyndham, was fired after protesting sales practices which were elder financial abuse. The case took over 5 years to get to trial and lasted a month. Anne, a former associate at the Dolan Law Firm who started her own solo law practice, asked Chris to co-counsel and try the case with her.
Williams brought two causes of action: (1) wrongful termination in violation of public policy and (2) violation of California Labor Code section 1102.5 (provides that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law). The jury found in favor of Williams on both causes of action and returned a verdict for $19,999,999.76. The verdict was 24 cents less than $20 million because the jurors said they each contributed their two cents in deliberating so they took them back.
April 7, 2017 Update: Congratulations to Chris and Anne. The SFTLA recognized them with the Trial Lawyer of the Year award.