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Judge increases award to $2.1 million for Bismarck doctor who won clinic retaliation case

Judge increases award to $2.1 million for Bismarck doctor who won clinic retaliation case

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A Bismarck doctor who won a $1.2 million jury award against Mid Dakota Clinic in a retaliation case is now set to collect more than $2.1 million after a federal judge settled post-trial disputes.

Family practice physician Robert Roswick filed a federal lawsuit against the clinic in March 2017, claiming he was unjustly fired the year before for speaking out against alleged racial discrimination against an Indian-American physician at the clinic.

A U.S. District Court jury in Bismarck after a five-day trial in August ruled in Roswick’s favor, awarding him lost wages and benefits. A judge refused to allow the jury to consider punitive damages, however, ruling that there wasn’t enough evidence that the clinic “acted with malice or reckless indifference” to his civil rights.

Roswick challenged that, but U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery on Nov. 13 rejected his request for a partial new trial on the matter.

However, Montgomery did award the 62-year-old Roswick $430,000 for lost future earnings. The doctor had requested nearly $1.6 million in “front pay” through age 69, but Montgomery calculated an amount using “the common standard of retirement at age 65.”

Montgomery also awarded Roswick more than $368,400 in attorney fees and costs -- roughly two-thirds of the $532,400 he requested. She used a lower attorney hourly rate than what Roswick had advocated and disallowed some costs.

The judge also awarded Roswick $96,108 in interest on the back pay and 1.77% interest on the jury award from Aug. 20, the date of the judgment, until payment is made.

"Dr. Roswick stood up for his colleague because he believed it was the right thing to do,” his attorney, J. Ashwin Madia, said in a statement to the Tribune. “He's grateful for the fair process and careful analysis that both the judge and jury gave to this case."

Montgomery denied Mid Dakota Clinic’s request for a new trial or for her to lower the jury award.

“Based on the evidence at trial, the Court is not left with a firm conviction that the jury has erred or the verdict is a miscarriage of justice,” Montgomery said in her ruling. She added later that the jury’s damage award “is not plainly unjust or shocking.”

Mid Dakota Clinic in a statement to the Tribune said: “For over 40 years, we have been serving this community and working every day to earn our reputation as the doctors you know and trust. Mid Dakota Clinic disagrees with the decision, and we are weighing our options as to the next steps.”

Roswick is now a family medicine doctor at Sanford Health in Bismarck.

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