Pfizer Whistleblower Awarded $1.37 Million After Virus Exposure

April 5, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - A U.S. District Court jury has awarded $1.37 million to a former Pfizer scientist who says she was exposed to a virus designed at the company's labs in Groton.

Becky McClain of Deep River also will get punitive damages to be determined by a judge on her complaint that she was fired after bringing up safety concerns.

McClain argued her free speech rights were violated and she should have been protected under whistle-blower laws after alleging that a former colleague at the Groton lab exposed her to a virus that causes intermittent paralysis.

Pfizer denies her allegations, saying she raised them only after she was fired in 2005 for refusing to come to work.

The company said it is reviewing Thursday's verdict and considering an appeal.

A more complete description of the decision and circumstances can be found on the New York Times web site.