Williams v Wyndham

Case Number: CGC-12-526187

Last Updated: April 16, 2021


Jury verdict entered on 11/17/16 in favor of former Wyndham employee; affirmed in post-trial motion. Decision on post-trial motion entered: 3/10/17


Superior Court of California, In and for the County of San Francisco

Presiding Judge

Hon. Richard B. Ulmer, Jr.

Date Filed



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.

Case Posture


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:

  • that Wyndham sold elderly consumers more time than they could reasonably use before death;
  • that Wyndham had a pattern and practice of retaliating against employees who blew the whistle on Wyndham’s rampant fraud;
  • that “[w]hen timeshare sales were off, Wyndham had ‘TAFT Days’ – Tell Them Any Frigging Thing;”
  • that sales representatives falsely told customers that Wyndham would buy back the timeshares it sold if the customers purchased additional timeshare points;
  • that sales representatives falsely told customers that their maintenance fees would not increase; and
  • that salespersons opened credit cards for customers without authorization.

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.

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Docket link

Operative Complaint

Critical Orders

Critical Briefs


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Patricia Williams

Plaintiffs’ counsel:

Chris Dolan and Anne Costin


Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc., Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., Anita Howell, and Linda Tanner.

Defendant’s counsel:

Jackson Lewis, PC

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