Pfizer Inc. Appeal Over Whistleblowing Scientist to be Heard Today

Published: Oct 25, 2012

Pfizer Inc.’s appeal of a Hartford jury’s decision to award a former company scientist $1.37 million in a whistleblower case will be heard Thursday by a three-judge panel at the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. Becky McClain, a longtime molecular biologist at Pfizer’s Groton laboratories who won a jury decision in U.S. District Court two years ago after claiming the company retaliated against her for raising safety concerns, said in an email that the hearing is expected to get under way at 2 p.m. “There is no jury and I will not talk,” she said. “But the attorneys argue.” McClain claims that she became dangerously ill after being infected by a virus at Pfizer’s laboratories in Groton. But the company claims that the former Deep River resident — now living in Albuquerque, N.M. — was fired after abandoning her job. “In reality, Ms. McClain was terminated from employment because she refused to return to work for more than 11 months, and would not return to work for reasons unrelated to her alleged speech,” Pfizer said in a statement. Pfizer said it plans to present “strong arguments” to overturn the jury’s decision that the company retaliated against McClain for exercising her free-speech rights.

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