A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury awarded Dr. Robert Katz $28.7 million in an age discrimination lawsuit he filed against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Katz was awarded $2.3 million in compensatory damages and $26.4 million in punitive damages in a trial that concluded April 27 in Judge Robert C. McClelland’s courtroom.
Katz’s total award was reduced to $6.8 million plus attorneys’ fees, as punitive damages according to law may not exceed two times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a plaintiff, according the court records.
Katz, an ear, nose and throat doctor who was formerly employed by Cleveland Clinic for two decades, filed the suit saying he was forced out at age 77 in 2015 due to his age. At that time, a new chairman of the Head and Neck Institute pressured him to retire because he was “no longer a fit” for the hospital, according to cleveland.com.
In a statement, Cleveland Clinic said, “Cleveland Clinic does not tolerate discrimination or retaliation. We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict and will review the case to determine our next steps.”
Katz is employed by Eastside ENT Specialists Inc., which has offices in Willoughby, Painesville and Madison. Katz had been head of regional otolaryngology at Cleveland Clinic, according to his bio on the Eastside ENT Specialists Inc. website.
Katz was represented by Thorman Petrov Group in Chagrin Falls, which did not return requests for comment.