Hanford whistleblower may not get jury trial

May 6, 2012
Originally published on May 3, 2012 10:00 pm

YAKIMA, Wash. – A Hanford whistleblower lawsuit is underway in federal court in Yakima. A former high-level manager on a nuclear treatment project is asking for a jury trial, but the judge hearing the case said Thursday that’s unlikely.

Walt Tamosaitis was helping to design a $12 billion waste treatment plant in southeast Washington. He claims that his employer called URS took him out of his high-level management position for raising safety concerns. Tamosaitis also alleges that a Department of Energy manager was involved in that decision. He wants his job back, damages from URS and a jury trial. It’s not clear that he’ll get the latter. Federal Judge Lonny Suko said he was skeptical of allowing a jury. But Tamosaitis’ lawyer, Jack Sheridan, says he’s still hopeful.

“We’ll just have to wait and see, but I think that when the judge has an opportunity to look closely at the case law, especially the Supreme Court precedent, it’s quite clear that a jury is required,” Sheridan says.

The Department of Energy and contractor URS argue they should be removed from the lawsuit altogether.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

Copyright 2012 N3. To see more, visit http://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/.