Pettit Kohn Successfully Defends $10 Million Claim by Regents Against UC San Diego Doctor Who Nets $39 Million in Consolidated Whistleblower Trial

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin, PC, a southern California trial firm, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of its client Dr. Kevin Murphy against claims brought by his former employer The Regents of California following a two-month trial in San Diego Superior Court. The case was consolidated with Dr. Murphy’s whistleblower claims against The Regents and both cases were tried together. Doug Pettit and Matthew Smith defended the claims brought by The Regents while Mark Quigley and Ivan Puchalt of Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP represented Dr. Murphy in his whistleblower claims.

Dr. Kevin Murphy, a former UC San Diego radiation oncologist, brought suit against the UC Regents for whistleblower retaliation asserting that the University retaliated against him for questioning the donor intent of a $10 million research gift left by a former patient. The Regents filed a separate complaint and sought more than $10 million for alleged fraud and breach of duty against Dr. Murphy for allegedly misappropriating University resources. The Regents also sued Mindset and PeakLogic, two companies formed and operated by Dr. Murphy. The two lawsuits were consolidated into one jury trial which lasted two months. In a unanimous decision, the jury awarded more than $39.5 million in damages to Dr. Murphy. The jury awarded only $67,000 in favor of the UC Regents, which reflect outside income that Dr. Murphy had previously offered to pay. The jury also unanimously found in favor of Kevin T. Murphy, Inc. dba Mindset and PeakLogic.

Learn more details about the case here.

Douglas A. Pettit is a Shareholder in Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin’s San Diego office. He has extensive trial and litigation experience in the areas of civil litigation, business litigation, and professional liability. He has tried over 50 cases in California and his extraordinary record of favorable outcomes and exemplary client service has resulted in recognition by his peers over the years. He was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2007 and has achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating of AV Preeminent for his legal ability and ethical standards. Most recently, Doug received the San Diego “Leaders in Law” honor by the San Diego Business Journal for his outstanding professional accomplishments in the legal field. In addition, he has been selected for inclusion in the San Diego Super Lawyers every year since 2007 and was listed among the Top 10 in 2015, 2016, and 2023. He has also been recognized by the Best Lawyers in America® for his work in Legal Malpractice Law (Defendants), Professional Malpractice Law (Defendants), and Commercial Litigation. Notably, Best Lawyers named him Lawyer of the Year in San Diego for Legal Malpractice in 2015, 2018, and 2023.

Matthew Smith is a Shareholder in Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin’s San Diego office and represents individuals and business clients on a wide variety of professional and business litigation matters. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® for his work in Commercial Litigation. He has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including trials, arbitrations, and mediations. Mr. Smith represents individuals and business clients and has served as lead or co-counsel in more than a dozen trials and arbitrations. He has achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating of AV Preeminent for his legal ability and high ethical standards and has been selected for inclusion in the 2021 – 2023 San Diego Super Lawyers® list.

About Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin PC is a leading AV-rated, full-service trial firm with expertise in litigating and resolving civil matters in both state and federal courts. The firm represents clients in the areas of Appellate, Business Litigation, Community Association Litigation, Employment & Labor, Personal Injury, Product Liability, Professional Liability, Real Estate Litigation, Restaurant & Hospitality, Retail, Transactional & Business Services, Transportation, and Trial & Civil Litigation. Clients include large and mid-sized corporations, privately held businesses, institutions, and individuals. Pettit Kohn is located in California and Arizona with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.  Learn more about the firm at