Ex-Employee Who Sued Novartis Ends Up Being Ordered to Pay $1.85M

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. has been awarded $1.85 million from a former employee who worked for competitors while on the payroll and lied in a suit against the company and on her job application.

U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton set the amount of damages and sanctions on June 5, after finding for Novartis on fraud as well as breach of conflict of interest policy, duty of loyalty and contract counterclaims.

Her ruling follows the dismissal last year of the plaintiff’s federal and state disability claims.

At that time, Wigenton concluded that the plaintiff, physician Afoluso Adesanya, deceived Novartis and the court by misstating her employment history, outside consulting, income sources and other matters.

In her most recent ruling, the judge said the company was due $457,040 in attorney’s fees and costs and $1,393,918 in damages from Adesanya, and an additional $23,714 from her husband/business partner.

The damages include repayment of almost $500,000 in income from other companies while a full-time Novartis employee, $647,694 in cash compensation and company benefits, $210,403 in bonuses and $26,818 in relocation expenses.

Wigenton said the deceptions and discovery violations forced Novartis to “incur additional effort and expense to obtain additional information plaintiffs should have provided.”

Novartis was represented by MARC partner John B. McCusker, of counsel Suzanne M. Murphy and associate Bianca M. Olivadoti.

Adesanya sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, claiming Novartis failed to accommodate her back and neck problems by not permitting her to work from home more than two days a week.

But MARC showed she was engaging in other employment—jointly owning a pharmaceutical company and holding outside pharmaceutical consulting jobs. The attorneys also discovered she had misrepresented her prior salary and other information when she applied to Novartis.

Read sample news coverage of Wigenton’s ruling.

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