UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. Gregory Thorpe, et al.
March 6, 2015
Plaintiff Blair Hamrick brought this suit under the anti-retaliation provision of the
False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h), for his termination from employment at
the defendant GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”). GSK has moved for summary judgment.
I. Background
Plaintiff spills much ink recounting his long and difficult history at the company,
including various perceived and actual slights and mistreatment, all of which is
irrelevant to the present cause of action. The essential facts for this opinion follow,
taken from the undisputed record.
Blair Hamrick began work at GSK as a pharmaceutical sales representative in
Colorado in 1997. On January 30, 2002, plaintiff met with a GSK Compliance Officer to
discuss plaintiff’s allegations regarding off-label drug presentations sponsored by GSK.
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 1 of 8
On October 19, 2003, Hamrick was cited for driving under the influence of
alcohol (“DUI”). On October 24, 2003, he voluntarily took a medical leave of absence
because of anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. On January 22,
2004, Hamrick pled guilty to driving while alcohol impaired (“DWAI”) in connection with
the October 2003 DUI citation.
Plaintiff returned to work on January 27, 2004, in his then current position as
Senior Executive Sales Representative. On January 29, he had a call with Gail
Fletcher and Claudia Pattison, managers in the Human Resources Department (“HR”),
concerning his allegations of off-label drug presentations. On February 12, he met with
Pattison to continue discussing his concerns regarding off-label drug presentations.
During the February 12, 2004, meeting with Pattison, plaintiff expressed anger
towards his co-worker Peter Copeland, saying that he “would never do this, but …
[Peter] is lucky I don’t rip his trachea out of his throat.” Pattison was particularly
concerned about this violent ideation, as she was aware Hamrick in fact carried a gun.
On March 16, 2004, Hamrick attended a GSK conference in Dallas, Texas.
During the conference, while under the influence of prescription anti-anxiety
medications and alcohol, he made several threats of violence against GSK managers.
Three GSK employees reported plaintiff stating, and plaintiff does not dispute stating,
the following:
• “I hate this company. I’ve hated it since the merger. I’d like to take a gun
and shoot some people.”

• “[I]f there’s one thing I need from a 30-day psych leave, it’s another leave.
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 2 of 8
You don’t understand, I’m obsessed with these thoughts. Let me give you
an example. I’ve been having these dreams where I am in a wrestling
match with Jerry [Nelson] and Pat [Keith] and I hit Jerry in the eye and his
eye pops out and I hit Pat and crush his windpipe.”

• “I’d like to kill [Jerry Nelson]. No, I wouldn’t have any remorse
whatsoever. I’d like to kill him.”

• “I want to kill that fucker [Pat Keith].”

• Hamrick was also reported to have said he was having dreams of
jamming his thumbs into Pat Keith’s eyes and ripping the eyeballs out.
GSK’s “Violence-Free Workplace Policy” states that
“[a]ny person who threatens, [or] exhibits threatening behavior … on [GSK]
property or at [Gsk] sponsored events will be removed from the premises
immediately, and will remain off premises pending the outcome of an
investigation. A timely investigation will be made concerning the allegations.
Should the investigation substantiate that violations of this policy have ocurred,
[GSK] will initiate a decisive and appropriate response.”
Pursuant to that policy, Hamrick was immediately placed on administrative leave with
pay pending an investigation into his statements in Dallas.
During this administrative leave, GSK became aware of Hamrick’s DUI citation
and DWAI conviction through its annual motor vehicle record check of those who, like
Hamrick, possessed company-owned vehicles. He had not reported either occurrence
to GSK, in violation of company policy.
In light of the reason for Hamrick’s leave, GSK requested he undergo a fitness
for duty (“FFD”) evaluation on April 2, 2014, with an understanding by Hamrick that
refusal to undergo the FFD would be grounds for termination. In response to this
request, Hamrick provided a letter from his own psychiatrist, Dr. Crandall, stating her
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 3 of 8
opinion that Hamrick is capable of performing his job responsibilities at GSK. Doctor
Crandall had not evaluated Hamrick since his violent threats.
On April 19, plaintiff sent GSK a request for severance. On June 2, GSK
responded with a counter-offer, and on June 6, plaintiff rejected the counter-offer and
stated that he no longer wished to resign.
GSK’s then Director of HR, Bill Reedy, scheduled a meeting with Hamrick on
June 23 to discuss Hamrick’s allegations about off-label marketing and his violations of
policy (his driving offense and his threats of violence). Hamrick was informed that, per
company policy, he could be accompanied by his attorney when GSK’s attorneys were
present during the meeting, but not during the HR portion of the meeting when no GSK
attorneys would be present, which would cover his conduct issues.
On June 22, Hamrick’s attorney, Keith Cross, informed Mr. Reedy that Hamrick
would not meet with GSK without his attorney present. Due to this refusal, the meeting
was cancelled. On September 1, GSK’s outside counsel, Geoffrey Hobart, sent Cross
a letter concerning Hamrick’s refusal to meet with GSK, and explained that Hamrick
was bound by GSK’s Code of Conduct, and that “failure to fully cooperate with an
investigation of an incident that occurs in the workplace” would be a further violation of
company policy, potentially subjecting Mr. Hamrick to termination.
There followed a series of communications between counsel for the parties. On
September 3, Cross responded, setting multiple conditions and terms of any meeting
between Hamrick and GSK. On September 20, Hobart reiterated the company’s
request for an investigatory meeting and again stated that Cross could attend the
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 4 of 8
portions of the meeting regarding off-label marketing but not those portions solely
concerning the HR investigation of Hamrick’s threats and unreported driving infraction.
On September 24, Cross informed Hobart that plaintiff would not meet with GSK. On
October 13, GSK informed Hamrick, through his attorney, that he had been terminated
due to his threatening and violent statements regarding GSK employees, his failure to
report his DUI citation and DWAI conviction, and his refusal to cooperate with GSK’s
II. Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows that there is no
genuine dispute of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In considering whether or not a genuine issue of material
fact exists, the court “must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the opposing
party.” Tolan v. Cotton,134 S. Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014). Only if “a reasonable jury,
drawing favorable inferences, could resolve [the motion] in favor of the nonmoving
party” is the dispute genuine. See Travers v. Flight Sers. & Sys., Inc., 737 F.3d 144,
146 (1st Cir. 2013).
III. Analysis
The burden in this case is on the plaintiff to show (i) that he was engaged in
conduct protected under the FCA; (ii) the employer had knowledge of this conduct; and
(iii) the employer retaliated against the employee because of this conduct.” Harrington
v. Aggregate Indus. Ne. Region, Inc., 668 F.3d 25, 31 (1st Cir. 2012). Once this prima
facie showing is made, the burden shifts to the employer to provide a legitimate, non-
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 5 of 8
retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action. When the employer provides
such a reason, it is the plaintiff’s burden to raise a jury question as to whether the
reason provided is merely “a pretext calculated to mask retaliation.” Id.
The standard for this case is laid out in the First Circuit’s decision in Travers v.
Flight Services & Systems, Inc., 737 F.3d 144 (1st Cir. 2013). In Travers, the First
Circuit reversed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in an employment retaliation
“[T]he applicable standard requires “but-for” causation. … [Plaintiff]’s
claim would fail if [defendant] would have fired him absent retaliatory
animus. And [defendant] also correctly reasons that the evidence here
would allow a reasonable jury to conclude that [defendant] would have
fired [plaintiff] … even if he had never [engaged in protected activity]. On
… summary judgment … , however, the question is not whether a
reasonable jury could find that [defendant] would have fired
[plaintiff] even in the absence of retaliatory intent. Rather, the
question pertinent to our review of summary judgment is whether no
reasonable jury could find otherwise.”
Travers, 737 F.3d at 148 (emphasis added).
There is no dispute that Hamrick was engaged in protected activity and that GSK
was aware of that activity from as early as 2002. The decision to terminate Hamrick
came only shortly after implicit confirmation to GSK that he was, in fact, a qui tam
relator. This temporal proximity is, perhaps, sufficient to give an inference of animus,
so I assume, without deciding, that plaintiff’s prima facie burden was met.
Defendant provides a substantial non-retaliatory basis for its decision to
terminate Hamrick, linked to three main things. First, the company cites Hamrick’s
erratic behavior and verbal threats made before and during a company retreat in March
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 6 of 8
2004. Second, it points out Hamrick’s failure to disclose to the company his conviction
of DWAI, in contravention of company policy requiring its disclosure. Third, GSK notes
that company policy requires the termination of employees who refuse to cooperate
with internal investigations, and defendant’s refusal to fully comply with GSK’s
investigation into his erratic behavior and fitness for duty, by setting conditions to his
meeting with the company. These events, taken together, are more than enough to
shift the burden back to plaintiff.
The remaining question is whether plaintiff can point to sufficient evidence to
allow a reasonable jury to find that, but for his protected whistleblowing activity, he
would not have been terminated. Plaintiff is right that he may, to some extent, rely on
timing-driven inference to make out his case for retaliation to a jury. See Harrington,
668 F.3d at 33 (the “sequence of occurrences leading up to a challenged decision, and
close temporal proximity between relevant events” can “give rise to an inference of
pretext.”). However, other than a generic pattern of alleged mistreatment, going back
several years and attributable to many causes unrelated to his protected activity,
plaintiff has produced no evidence whatsoever, other than the loose temporal
inference, to support his allegation of retaliatory firing. In the face of the overwhelming
and largely undisputed evidence of defendant’s serious misconduct immediately
preceding the termination of his employment, he has failed to produce any evidence to
create a genuine issue of material fact, i.e., to provide a basis for a reasonable jury to
conclude that, but for his whistleblowing, he would not have been terminated.
IV. Conclusion
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is ALLOWED.
Judgment may be entered for the defendant.
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 7 of 8
March 6, 2015 /s/Rya W. Zobel
Case 1:03-cv-10641-RWZ Document 197 Filed 03/06/15 Page 8 of 8



  1. Greg Thorpe

    Blair Hamrick has taken credit all over the world for this case. I have remained silent until I can reveal the entire story. This was a free pass for GSK ..fined 52 million dollars for a Global settlement on Seroxat / Paxil. The year I came forward on Paxil the company did 3 billion dollars in sales.. White collar greed killed people..many under 18 by hiding suicide data. After 9 years as the first and Only whistleblower on Seroxat/Paxil the DOJ under Eric Holder reduced my 350 page complaint with 750 exhibits to 80 pages of quid pro quo. Is it because
    Holder ..the Attorney General five years into the case..formerly a GSK defense attorney in the lawsuit did not recuse himself from the case or in fact had others in the US department of injustice do it for him.
    I don’t know but a full and complete investigation by the House of Representatives can find out. The case was under seal for 9 years to patients and physicians. .Yet under Holder’s watch it was unsealed to
    the defendant..GSK. Who did this and why? Holder knows and a complete investigation is in order. I was the First to file the case. Blair Hamrick as per the Courts observation was immaterial to the first complaints and seemingly remains so…although he has traveled the world ” spilling much ink and breath. ..on a case which he lucked into and now claims the hero role . I have claimed nothing until I saw this post…reflecting the REAL ROLE OF BLAIR HAMRICK in the case. The truth will come out in my book sooner or later. Until then nothing of importance is in the public realm. I knew Hamrick would someday pay for his rants about himself and what he supposedly did.
    I remained silent until the whole saga could be revealed. It is not a case really about Pharma corruption….it is rampant. The real story has to do with what some would call prosecutorial misconduct.
    Only an investigation will reveal what Is my belief and opinion. White collar executives at GSK got away with murder and absolutely no fine or punishment. The case….sealed for years under the Holder DOJ.. resulted in millions of dollars of net gain for GSK….the fine they paid 3 billion dollars was a mere 3 months of company profit. Imagine that..seriously. Unless they kill me…I am ready now to speak the truth and unlike Hamrick will expose the real issues that need to be confronted…..and that is the Attorney General ..supposedly recused from the case and a former attorney for the Defendant –
    GSK…..had anything to do with the gift given not only to GSK as a company….but the White Collar Executioners whom I named even before I filed the case. This story is ongoing….I am still fighting….I am no hero- I just did what anyone would do. Now the truth has been revealed
    but only partially regarding the real Blair Hamrick, not the one you see in documentaries such as the movie “BOUGHT” … IF SOMEONE WANTS THE TRUTH AND THE REAL STORY….I. AM NOT HARD TO FIND. It cannot be told in a self serving 30 minute interview for fame and fortune.
    Truthman is a real hero fortune –just hell and agony caused by GSK throughout the world….and the guts to expose the truth. Blair Hamrick…well I think Judge Zobel has revealed him for what he is. I am not one to beat a dead horse…as I could . The truth will someday prevail whether told by Greg Thorpe, The Truthman blog or someone else.
    I will only say that nobody could imagine or even fantasize what I have lived and seen firsthand the last 14 years…when I first came forward. Stay tuned, the truth trumps all the nonsense related to date in the unknowing media …sucked up by guys like Blair Hamrick. Thanks to this blog and Truthman for getting the ball rolling.-
    Greg Thorpe v. GSK and the US Department of Injustice. …to be continued…God willing.


    • Lifeiswhatyoumakeit

      Greg Thorpe never one to beat a dead horse….what a joke.

      Deranged and obliviously blinded by the illness in his own mind. I wouldn’t read a book written by this man if he paid me all the money he blew in less than two years of receiving it.

      Get a life and please get help if not for those people happening to fall into reading your BS but for your poor poor family.

      • PeopleareStrange

        Now there is a comment
        that truly defies the imagination. Thorpe is still fighting corruption involved in this case. Nobody knows what he has done with his money….but not receiving what he was due…by dividing the award, which was the minimum under FCA law with terminated GSK employees who came in like vultures after
        he went straight to the company for two years…..terminated for the very things Thorpe reported…guys like Hamrick, Burke and all the others. … ( the bottom feeders )..was mere unjust enrichment by the DOJ to them and their “me too” attorneys.
        He did not know about any award the “others”. HE is the only one who came forward on principle and settled out of Court with GSK on his retaliation charges. Unlike the buffoon Hamrick who road on the coat tails, knowledge, and tenacity of Thorpe…Thorpe did not quit like Hamrick and is still fighting Medicaid Fraud felons like the infamous Joseph Piacentile. Hamrick paid this known extortionist and felon off…while Thorpe fights for the patients as well as other legitimate whistleblowers.
        Thorpes money is largely in trusts for his children and grandchildren…the fool who attacks him on this as well as his mental
        status is just that…a Real Fool. Has he read the Court documents ? Obviously not. These anonymous creeps who defame someone they know nothing about and question Thorpes motive and mental status are no more than jealous losers.
        It sounds like a post Hamrick the self proclaimed hero of the case would say. Hamrick would never have been on the case period except for an error by Thorpes attorney. Thorpes attorney told him he had to recruit “a body” to join him…since he signed a release. It was not true..
        Thorpe was suing not for himself but for patients safety and Medicaid Fraud. Hamrick was the body Thorpe hired unfortunately. …adding nothing to the case….and quitting in the process.
        The previous post sounds like a rant by Hamrick as exposed by Judge Zobel…if so please get back on your medications. are saying some pretty silly things. Seriously. If a book does come out, it will be read by those who want the facts ….not by some bizarre post person on the blog here.

  2. Exposed

    Hey son ..” lifeiswhatyoumakeit”
    Right…you made your life lying in depositions, Illegally recording private conversations, paying off convicted felons, quitting cases because you were a weak nutcase on psychological disability, pumping up on HGH, testosterone, amphetamines and you know what else. A sellout..pure and simple. The party is over Mr. Movie Star Whistlesnoozer —You know who carried your lazy whining ass for 9 years.
    Interviews are an embarrassment every time you open your mouth. Watch them ..listen to what you say, over and over.
    The gig is up. You could face prison, I hear so if you destroyed the evidence, it is even worse. There is plenty available…Dumb. What will you and your kid do with your Rolex’s ..250K vehicles ..and your hideout mansion– received off the real Paxil victims. Yeah, the drug you paid off the felon on and bailed out on…Advair-hell a joke. Funny you dont have a thing to say about that farce. The truth will prevail, trust me.
    You are living in a fantasy world, the Court exposed the life you say you made…your life was made by someone else. You tell people you could not get a job…right – you had several in the medical field. Oh, and YOU came forward ? Why…you say ” because of off label detailing”. Sure.
    Tell the world how and why you really “came forward”. Lie after Lie. The gig is up, done , over Movie Star. Hide behind your Attorney, who is going to play you like the fool you are. You ultimately quit the case. That is your legacy…nobody will touch you now. Judge Zobel was right. If only she knew the whole story.
    She was easy on you. You want to defame people. You have. I speak the truth like the truthman. You are not worthy of shining his shoes. You use everyone you can fool. There are no more fools out there. Just you.
    My hero. HaHa!

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