'PEOPLE ARE THE SAME': Myron Mehlman plans to pursue a $30 million defamation suit against Mobil if his case is upheld on its next appeal.
A New Jersey appellate court has upheld and doubled a $3.5 million ruling in favor of a Mobil Oil Corp. toxicologist fired after advising a Mobil subsidiary in Japan to stop selling gasoline with hazardous levels of benzene, a carcinogen. While the company appeals the decision to the state Supreme Court, observers are speculating that the case may help whistleblowers enjoy greater protection from retaliation.

Myron Mehlman was dismissed from his job at a Mobil laboratory in Hopewell, N.J., almost immediately upon returning from Japan in October 1989. He sued the company under New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), and a state Superior Court jury awarded him nearly $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages (F. Hoke, The...

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