A man who alleged in a lawsuit that he was fired from a hospital system because he is a white man has been awarded a $10 million verdict by a North Carolina jury, according to court documents.
David Duvall of Michigan sued Novant Health, Inc. in 2019 after he was fired as senior vice president of marketing and communications the previous year.
Duvall said in the suit that he was terminated without cause "as part of an intentional campaign to promote diversity in its management ranks" and that he was fired due to his sex and race.
Novant Health, which is based in Winston-Salem, has denied those allegations. It has said in court filings that he was fired for deficient performance and the delegation of critical duties to subordinates.
"We are extremely disappointed in the verdict, as we believe it is not supported by the evidence presented at trial, which includes our reason for Mr. Duvall's termination," a Novant Health spokesperson said in a statement. "We will pursue all legal options, including appeal."
Duvall, hired in 2013, said he was fired shortly before his fifth anniversary at the company and was replaced by a Black woman and a white woman. He argued discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Luke Largess, Duvall's attorney, told NBC News that the former executive was fired days before his fifth anniversary when he would be entitled to greater severance.
"The message is not to abandon diversity and inclusion, it's to do it legally," Largess said.
A federal jury trial was held this month, and the verdict was handed down Tuesday, according to court records.
The verdict form says the jury found that Duvall's race or sex was a motivating factor in the termination, according to online federal court records.