$427,000 jury verdict in whistleblower lawsuit against U of L is - WDRB 41 Louisville News

$427,000 jury verdict in whistleblower lawsuit against U of L is thrown out

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A 2013 jury verdict of $427,000 against the University of Louisville in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former director of marketing publications has been thrown out by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

A Jefferson Circuit Court jury in November 2013 sided with Laurel Harper in her allegation that she was retaliated against after she complained about wasteful spending at the university.

Harper alleged that the university was spending too much on television advertising for athletics and that she was subsequently taken off the project.

The court of appeals ruled Friday that "this is not the type of disclosure" that is protected under the state’s whistleblower law.

"It is simply Harper’s expression to her supervisor of her personal opinion regarding the proposed production budget," according to Friday’s ruling.

Harper also alleged she was retaliated against after complaining that the university overspent in 2010 by paying $30,000 to an outside agency to create a new logo for the school’s annual Grawmeyer award.

And Harmer complained about a "perceived misuse" of funds to a board of trustee staff member.

"Despite her proffered complaints, she did not report the alleged misconduct in such a way that would be protected by the Whistleblower statute," the court of appeals concluded.

Attorney Michael Augustus, who represents Harper, said they would ask the Kentucky Supreme Court to review the case.

"We respect the opinion, but we don’t necessary agree with it and intend to move forward with the appeal process," he said.

A U of L spokesman said the university was pleased with the decision. 

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