Jury trials are the exception in timeshare litigation with the vast majority of whistleblower cases resolved by confidential settlement. In this case, however, a former Wyndham employee presented evidence that she was terminated after complaining of Wyndham’s fraud on elders. The resulting verdict and punitive damages award withstood Wyndham’s post-trial motion, albeit reduced to $12.8 million.
Patricia Williams brought a whistleblower claim all the way to a jury. She testified that she was fired from her timeshare sales position with Wyndham after she reported fraud by her co-workers to Wyndham management.
After a three-week trial, a jury entered a verdict in William’s favor for over $20 million that included $129,900.60 in past wage loss, $1,300,000 for emotional distress, and $18,570.00.16 in punitive damages. Wyndham asked for a new trial, or in the alternative, that the punitive damages award, if any, should be reduced from $18.6 million to $130,000.
In its order denying Wyndham’s motion, the judge cited the following evidence heard by the jury at trial:
In denying the motion for a new trial, the court ruled that Wyndham’s conduct was “highly reprehensible,” and the jury’s award was “dispassionately sound,” but reduced the punitive damages award to $12.8 million, citing due process principles.
Chris Dolan and Anne Costin
Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc., Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., Anita Howell, and Linda Tanner.
Jackson Lewis, PC