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November 2012: Victory for Broadcom Founder

November 2012

The firm recently won a wrongful termination trial brought against our client The Management Company (“TMC”), an organizational entity that provided various services to Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III, the founder of the Broadcom Corporation.

Following her termination in June 2008, Plaintiff, Dr. Nicholas’s former senior executive assistant, brought a number of employment-related claims against TMC and Dr. Nicholas. Through motions practice, Dr. Nicholas was quickly dismissed from the lawsuit, as were the majority of claims against TMC. In March 2010, Quinn Emanuel tried the surviving two claims against TMC: wrongful termination and failure to pay overtime compensation. We obtained a complete defense verdict on both counts.

Plaintiff appealed both verdicts. Although the judgment on the overtime claim was upheld on appeal, the California Court of Appeal reversed the judgment on the wrongful termination claim. In that claim, Plaintiff alleged that she was tortiously terminated in violation of public policy in retaliation for testifying before a federal grand jury and for cooperating with the FBI in an investigation of Dr. Nicholas.

On retrial, the parties waived a jury and tried the wrongful termination claim to the Court. After presenting ten witnesses over five days of trial Plaintiff rested her case and Dr. Nicholas moved for judgment. The Court allowed Plaintiff to present additional evidence in response to our motion and then invited the parties to make arguments on whether the evidence supported a defense verdict.

Quinn Emanuel successfully persuaded the Court that Plaintiff’s termination had nothing to do with her grand jury appearance or her communications with the FBI. We demonstrated that Plaintiff’s tales of retaliation were not credible by highlighting significant falsehoods and inconsistencies in Plaintiff’s testimony. We also established that Plaintiff was lawfully terminated from her position as senior executive assistant with TMC for refusing to report to work. In ruling for our client, the Court ultimately found that Plaintiff’s termination was in no way motivated by her grand jury testimony or cooperation with the federal investigation.