Levi v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 15 Cal. App. 5th 892 (2017)

Dr. Leah Levi, a neuro-ophthalmologist, alleged retaliation under California’s Whistleblower Protection Act (“CWPA”) against the University, her former employer. Dr. Levi alleged that her supervisor (Dr. Robert Weinreb) had a conflict of interest related to his wife’s position in the department for which he served as vice-chair. Dr. Levi alleged that Dr. Weinreb had retaliated against her because he thought she was a whistleblower with regard to the conflict of interest issue. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that Dr. Levi’s complaints about Dr. Weinreb’s conflict of interest “implicated policies that have the force and effect of statutes…. Exposing conflicts of interest, misuse of funds, and improper favoritism of a near relative at a public agency are matters of significant public concern that go well beyond the scope of a similar problem at a purely private institution.” See also Denton v. City & County of San Francisco, 2017 WL 4873259 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) (trial court erred in granting summary judgment against temporarily in pro per plaintiff).