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special to the national law journal Four months after being fired from his $650,000-a-year job as vice president and controller for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Thomas Dunn in the spring of 2001 sued the company, claiming that he had been axed in retaliation for reporting what he believed to be illegal activities there. On April 11, a St. Louis jury agreed with Dunn, finding that Enterprise had unlawfully fired him and awarded $4,000,000 in compensatory damages. Dunn v. Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co., No. 01CC-001530 (St. Louis Co., Mo., Cir. Ct.). According to one of Dunn’s lawyers, Matthew Ghio of St. Louis’ Van Amburg, Chackes, Carlson & Spritzer, Enterprise fired Dunn because he would not commit illegal acts pertaining to a planned initial public offering (IPO) by the company. “Essentially, they wanted him to cook the books on an IPO,” Ghio said. But the jury was never allowed to decide that issue. Trial Judge Jack Koehr directed a verdict for Enterprise on the accounting issue, leaving the jury to decide only whether Enterprise fired Dunn for whistleblowing about other company business practices. Ghio said he believes Koehr erred in throwing out the accounting claim. “The law doesn’t have to actually be broken. The point is whether he was ever pressured to break the law,” he said. Although Enterprise has said it will appeal, Dunn has not decided whether to appeal the directed verdict on the accounting claims. Michael Kahn of San Francisco’s Folger Levin & Kahn, one of Enterprise’s lawyers, said the verdict was a win for the defense. “Their final settlement demand was many times $4 million,” he said, adding, “They had an expert claim $65 million in compensatory damages alone-this case was about much more than $4 million.” Kahn noted that, upon Dunn’s discharge, Enterprise offered him $1 million. “After he pays his lawyers and expenses, he’ll be getting about what we offered him when he left.” Kahn added that they were able to inform the jury of Enterprise’s $1 million dollar settlement offer. “This verdict is about the jury saying, ‘OK, we’ll give the guy his million dollars and pay his lawyers and expenses,’ ” Kahn said. “ This verdict was a repudiation of the plaintiff’s case.” Horrigan’s e-mail address is

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