Idaho’s tort law limiting damage awards in lawsuits does not apply to the state’s whistleblower law, according to a Tuesday ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court. The justices rejected a lower court’s decision to limit the amount of money awarded to a State Police detective who exposed a cover-up of another deputy’s dangerous actions.
In 2017, a jury awarded Detective Brandon Eller $30,000 in economic damages under the state’s Protections of Public Employees Act. The judge ruled that he was not entitled to non-economic damages under the whistleblower law, but he was awarded $1.5 million for a “negligent infliction of emotional distress” claim. The court reduced that to claim to $1,000,000 because Idaho Tort Claims Act caps damages at $500,000 for each incident.