University of Connecticut professor awarded $736,000 in whistleblower lawsuit
An assistant professor of business at the University of Connecticut has been awarded $736,000 after charging in a 2011 whistleblower lawsuit that he had been fired for complaining about mismanagement at the school.
Luke Weinstein will get $736,000 plus attorneys' fees and expenses and will get his job back under the terms of Superior Court Judge Susan Peck's June 30 ruling.
Weinstein named UConn and former Dean Paul Christopher Earley in his lawsuit, which made its way through the state and federal court systems for years.
After earning a doctorate in marketing and management from UConn, Weinstein was hired in 2007 as an assistant professor and director of the business school's Innovation Accelerator, a training program.
He alleged in his lawsuit that Earley eliminated his position after Weinstein complained about possible labor law violations at the accelerator program and raised nepotism concerns involving Earley's wife, Elaine Mosakowski, a tenured business professor.
Weinstein initially pursued First Amendment claims against UConn, but federal and state courts cited limitations to free speech protections for public employees in siding with the university.
Following a bench trial this spring, however, Judge Peck ruled that Weinstein's related whistleblower claim had merit, citing “the inherent fallacies associated with the numerous and shifting reasons” not to reappoint Weinstein for the 2011-12 academic year.
UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in a statement, “The University is disappointed with this decision on the plaintiff’s one remaining claim, particularly given the long procedural history in this matter, which includes dismissal of several other claims asserted by the plaintiff.”
A spokesperson for the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, which represented UConn and Earley, said the office had no comment.