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After a two-month trial, this week a jury awarded former UC San Diego oncologist Dr. Kevin Murphy more than $39 million in his whistleblower claim against the University of San Diego.

According to the report by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the dispute between Murphy and UCSD began in the fall of 2015, when philanthropist Charles Kreutzkamp died of cancer and left $10 million to the university “for cancer research.” The university planned to use it as a general gift for its Moores Cancer Center. Murphy said the donor had intended to fund Murphy’s experimental brain stimulation treatment, known as PrTMS. He complained the school was attempting to divert the funds.

Eventually, the school steered the money to Murphy’s research. But he said school officials thwarted his attempts to set up clinical trials and ignored his official complaints about it. The school said Murphy violated policies, wrongly used donated funds to set up a research clinic off campus and enriched himself and his companies.

According to investigative reporting by non-profit, the UC system launched the litigation battle in 2020 when it sued Murphy, alleging he committed fraud and enriched himself using the $10 million donation to the university meant for research. It claimed at least $6.9 million of that donation was gone but no research was ever performed.

Murphy countersued, claiming UCSD led a campaign against him when he spoke up about the university funds being directed away from their intended purpose.

Those two lawsuits were combined into a massive trial that ended this week with a $39 million verdict in favor of Dr. Murphy. The jury deliberated for fewer than eight hours before returning a verdict Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to ruling in favor of Murphy, the jury also found that the doctor had breached his duty of loyalty to UCSD and acted against its interests. The jury awarded about $67,000 in favor of the UC system, which covered money Murphy had earned outside the university that he had failed to turn over as required.

The UC system asked for more than $8 million in damages, including civil penalties for violations of the False Claims Act and years of Murphy’s salary paid to him while he was disloyal to the public institution. UCSD had also sued for damages against Murphy’s private medical clinic and medical software company, but the jury found that the companies did not owe any damages.

Murphy said he would use the funds to run the trials he had always intended to conduct using the $10 million donation to UCSD.

The ruling is the latest of several whistleblower cases his laywer, Mark T. Quigley at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, has won against the University of California. According to the firms website, .

In another high-profile whistleblower retaliation trial, Mr. Quigley says that he attained a $2 million verdict against the UC Regents and the former Dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. The plaintiff in that case, Mark Linskey, M.D., is a tenured full professor at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and the former Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. Mr. Quigley said he resolved the case for a total of $3 million in damages and also obtained a Court Order reinstating Dr. Linskey to the Department of Neurological Surgery and residency program.

In another case, Scheer vs UC Regents, (2022) 76 Cal App. 5th 904, a California State Appeals Court recently reinstated one of Mr. Quigley’s whistleblower retaliation cases which involves a top UCLA pathology doctor’s claims that he was fired in retaliation after raising concerns about workplace mismanagement. The plaintiff, Dr. Arnold Scheer, alleged in his 2017 lawsuit that the University of California Regents and two former supervisors fired him after he identified numerous issues and violations concerning patient safety, mismanagement, fraudulent conduct, sub-standard facility conditions, lost specimen samples, and more.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed all of Dr. Scheer’s claims at the summary judgment stage, but the three-judge panel unanimously revived the case that asserts three causes of action: violations of a state whistleblower protection law, Labor Code section 1102.5, a whistleblower law specifically protecting University of California employees, Government Code section 8547.10; and a health care worker whistleblower protection law, Health, and Safety Code section 1278.5.

An in another case, attorney Quigley achieved a $10 million settlement in Pedowitz v. UC Regents, a whistleblower-retaliation case. The Los Angeles Times reports that Robert Pedowitz, originally recruited to UCLA in 2009 to run the orthopedic surgery department, sued UCLA, the UC Regents, fellow surgeons, and senior university officials because they failed to act on his complaints about conflicts of interest. Pedowitz alleged that they later retaliated against him for speaking out.

According to the LA Times story, Pedowitz stated he became “concerned about colleagues who had financial ties to medical-device makers or other companies that could unduly influence their care of patients or taint important medical research.” Pedowitz raised concerns about the financial dealings of several doctors, including an orthopedic surgeon that testified at trial about receiving $250,000 in consulting fees in 2008 from device maker Medtronic. Pedowitz also took issue with physicians who included UCLA logos on personal websites without getting official permission.

After raising his concerns, however, Pedowitz said he was pressured to step down as department chairman in 2010. He accused the university of retaliation, stating he was denied patient referrals and prevented from participating in grants and other activities, LA Times reports