Defense verdict on public employee's dismissal. El Dorado County.


Terminated administrative assistant claims he was a whistle blower.

The Case

  • Case Name: Erik Jacoby v. Georgetown Divide Public Utility District
  • Court and Case Number: El Dorado Superior Court / PC20160021
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, January 13, 2016
  • Type of Case: Employment
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Warren Stracener
  • Plaintiffs:
    Erik Jacoby
  • Defendants:
    Georgetown Divide Public Utility District
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 1/2 hours.
  • Jury Polls: The verdict was 10-2 defense on certain questions, but dissenting jurors indicated after trial they would have ultimately found for the defense with respect to liability on subsequent questions.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Robert E. Thurbon by Robert E. Thurbon, Gold River.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:
  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Jacobson Markham, LLP by Richard M. Jacobson, Sacramento.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Erik Jacoby was employed by defendant District in a temporary administrative position. He was terminated by Wendell Wall, General Manager, four months later.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended he was terminated in retaliation for initiating a sexual harassment investigation against Wall and blowing the whistle on an allegedly unlawful financial transaction about a month prior to termination. He has been unable to secure employment since his termination in April 2015 since he resides in a very rural area. He claimed past and future wage loss of $180,000 and non-economic damages up to $540,000.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Wall and District contended that Jacoby was terminated as an at-will temporary employee who simply did not fit in with the rest of the staff. Numerous former co-employees testified that they did not trust Jacoby and that he had eavesdropped on conversations. They threatened to bring the union into the dispute. Wall testified that he was unaware that he was the subject of the sexual harassment investigation so he could not have retaliated on that basis and that he did not consider Jacoby to have "blown the whistle" on the financial transaction. District General Counsel and Special Employment Counsel testified, waiving attorney client privilege.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Loss of income and emotional distress/humiliation.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $110,000.00
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $70,000.00

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $400,000
  • Plaintiff Demand during Trial: $400,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $50,000