Wrongfully Terminated Walmart Pharmacist Awarded $27 Million Judgment

On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, awarded Afrouz Nikmanesh a $27 million judgment in her wrongful termination lawsuit against Walmart. Nikmanesh, a pharmacist formerly employed by Walmart, alleged that the retail giant fired her in retaliation for reporting multiple pharmacy violations and noncompliance with California laws.

Sometime between July 2013 and September 2014, Nikmanesh reported to her supervisors that Walmart failed to report required data to the Controlled Substances Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) program related to the dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions in California. She asked her supervisors to investigate the failures and to correct the noncompliance. Nikmanesh further reported that Walmart charged Medicare patients above the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate for prescriptions and failed to provide eligible patients with a Medicare discount. In September 2014, Walmart responded by firing Nikmanesh, thus prompting Nikmanesh to file a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that Walmart fired her in retaliation for her complaints about the company’s noncompliance with state laws.

The eight-person jury returned a verdict for Nikmanesh, which was approved by Judge Bernal on October 20, 2021. The $27,500,100 verdict includes $40,100 for past economic losses, $100,000 for past non-economic losses, $60,000 for future non-economic losses, and $27,300,000 for punitive damages.

Nikmanesh previously published an article related to her 2015 class-action lawsuit filed against Walmart alleging violations of work breaks and overtime pay. In that article, she wrote: “I am a person with strong integrity who believes and relies heavily on organizational structure. When the structure is flawed, naturally a person with high regard for integrity will want to find solutions to remedy such flaws.”

Additional Reading

Walmart hit with $27 million judgment for firing pharmacist who complained about Medicare violations, Courthouse News Service (October 20, 2021)

Afrouz Nikmanesh v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. et al (Case No. 8:2015cv00202)

Why I filed a class action lawsuit against Walmart, Drug Topics (March 17, 2015)

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