UCLA physician awarded $600K in retaliation lawsuit

Los Angeles County has been ordered to pay more than $600,000 to Los Angeles-based Harbor-UCLA Medical Center physician and professor Timothy Jang, MD, after he alleged he suffered retaliation for reporting racist actions by another physician and complaining about medical equipment malfunctions, according to an Aug. 30 report from the Daily Breeze

The UCLA Medical Center is jointly owned and operated by the county and the University of California Regents. The county was the lone defendant in the trial. Dr. Jang, the director of the ultrasound fellowship program at the medical center, alleged that fellow physician Roger Lewis, MD, ordered him not to hire foreign physicians as fellows. 

He also alleged that Dr. Lewis made other racist comments in the workplace. Dr. Jang also expressed concerns that ultrasound machines did not comply with CMS regulations. 

Dr. Jang claimed that in retaliation, Dr. Lewis increased his clinical workload, refused to fund a fellow for one year and declined twice to promote the plaintiff to senior physician, an advancement he was entitled to because of his seniority, the suit alleges.

Dr. Jang alleged that the refusal to promote him caused significant economic losses. The jury allocated all but $150,000 of the total $603,610 award to Dr. Jang's past and future wage losses.

The county attorney denies any wrongdoing by Dr. Lewis. Dr. Jang was hired by the system in 2009 and has never been demoted, disciplined, placed on administrative leave or had a pay reduction, according to the county's court documents cited in the report. 

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