Court orders Iowa State U. to pay $650,000 in damages to former employee who was mistreated

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AMES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering Iowa State University to pay $650,000 to a former employee who was the subject of vicious mistreatment by superiors.

The court Friday upheld a jury's $500,000 award to former College of Engineering marketing employee Dennis Smith for emotional distress.

The court also reinstated a $150,000 award for reputational harm Smith suffered after blowing the whistle on financial misconduct by his boss, Pamela Reinig. Smith says that ruling allows him to seek reimbursement for $400,000 in attorneys' fees.

Justices say Reinig "engaged in unremitting psychological warfare" against Smith to hide her theft, falsely claiming he was a security threat.

The court rejected $634,000 in damages that jurors had awarded for lost pay, finding that a 2010 reorganization in which Smith's job was eliminated wasn't retaliatory.

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