New Jersey must pay nearly $1.3 million in legal fees to the attorneys who represented a former state official who won a whistleblower lawsuit.
Stanley Fischer worked in the Division of Consumer Affairs, serving as executive director of its consumer protection office, before being fired in 2007. He then sued, claiming he was let go for confronting a politically connected subordinate about alleged workplace infractions that included sleeping on the job and lying about his whereabouts during work hours.
A state judge awarded Fischer $260,000 in damages last year and said he should be rehired. And The Star-Ledger of Newark reports the same judge ruled last week that Fischer's attorneys should get $1.29 million for their four years of work.
Leland Moore, an Attorney General's Office spokesman, told the newspaper that the state has not yet decided whether to appeal the legal fees decision.
The 61-year-old Fischer has since returned to the Consumer Affairs division -- where he worked for 16 years -- and is now assigned to the Board of Medical Examiners in Trenton, at his former salary of $100,000.
"To anyone who may find themselves in my position, they can know that it is worth the fight," he told the newspaper. "You can win."