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Justices Uphold $3.2M Whistleblower Verdict Against Turnpike

Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo

Pennsylvania's highest court is upholding a $3.2 million verdict in favor of a whistleblower fired after exposing waste and wrongdoing in Pennsylvania Turnpike contracts, hiring practices and E-ZPass discounts for large trucking firms.

The state Supreme Court said Tuesday Pennsylvania's Whistleblower Law allows judgments for non-economic damages in matters that cause embarrassment, humiliation, reputational damage and mental anguish.

The unanimous decision left in place the award to Ralph Bailets, who sued the turnpike commission over his 2008 firing as manager of financial systems and reporting.

He'd been fired after raising concerns about a $54 million computer contract with Ciber Inc., and its subsequent performance under that contract.

A turnpike spokesman declined comment on the decision.

Prosecutors in 2013 used Bailets' testimony to file corruption charges against several agency officials.