A jury in Taylor County (Abilene), awarded $2.5 in a whistle blower lawsuit. Chad Carter, the former City Engineer for the City of Abilene, complained to the Texas Board of Engineers about the City of Abilene’s failure to follow the Texas Engineering Practice Act when it built several roads. The jury awarded some $100,000 in lost pay and benefits and $2 million in compensatory damages (emotional suffering type damages), and $500,000 in attorney’s fees.
City Engineer Carter said the City did not have an engineer oversee various road construction projects, in violation of the Texas Engineering Practice Act. The City did hire an engineering firm after the roads had already been built to inspect the roads and after Mr. Carter complained. The engineers found no deficiencies. (Ok, I am not an engineer, but if there was a problem with the base of the road, how would an engineer know that after the fact? Way back when, when I worked summers on road construction projects, the engineer was out there everyday with us watching and doing whatever engineers do). Mr. Carter filed suit based on the Texas Whistleblower Act.
Mr. Carter’s employment was terminated within 90 days after he filed his first complaint. See reports by KTAB news here, here and here. That 90 days does create a presumption that he was fired due to his whistle blowing activity.