Court Upholds Order Requiring Ex-Employee, Husband To Pay Novartis $1.85M in Suit That Backfired

A Third Circuit panel on Oct. 11, 2018 affirmed a $1.85 million award to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., to be paid by an ex-employee and her husband/business partner.

The former employee, Afoluso Adesanya, originally filed a disability case against Novartis under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

But a trial court in Newark concluded that during her job application process, she misrepresented her prior salary and misstated her previous experience. It also found that while at Novartis, she earned more than $500,000 from other employment, in violation of her Novartis agreement.

Novartis counterclaimed for conflict of interest and breach of duty of loyalty, among other counts. The trial court found for Novartis and imposed the sanctions, including dismissal of Adesanya’s disability claims based primarily on her conduct during the litigation. The court found that she and her husband committed perjury and disobeyed numerous court orders.

Novartis’ lawyer, MARC partner John B. McCusker, assisted by of counsel Suzanne M. Murphy and associate Bianca M. Olivadoti, said, “this affirmance reinforces the warning that employees and litigants must abide by the rules.”

Read the ruling in the case, Adesanya v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
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