NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Jury awards former UCSD doctor $39 million

Posted at 7:17 PM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-03 22:17:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — On Wednesday a jury awarded a former longtime UC San Diego doctor and faculty member Kevin Murphy more than $39 million.

Murphy had sued the University system alleging whistleblower retaliation.

Outside of the courthouse, he told reporters for the first time in eight years he could finally get some sleep.

"It’s been eight years of struggle and I'm glad the jury saw through the display that was put on by the regents,” Murphy said.

Murphy's comments came about 30 minutes after a jury unanimously sided with his legal team's arguments.

"When you fight the powers that be, a $45 billion organization, they'll crush you,” he said. “And they tried that. I’m just glad the jury saw through all that."

Murphy, a former UC San Diego Oncologist, and researcher, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against the University system back in September of 2020.

He had alleged the university diverted a $10 million gift for research to the Moores Cancer Center without his consent.

"Doctor Murphy had a very grateful patient who left a gift for him of $10 million so that he could do his TMS research, but for a number of different reasons that money did not go to Dr. Murphy,” Murphy’s attorney Mark Quigley said. “It went to the Moores Cancer Center which created an issue with Dr. Murphy and one of the other faculty members."

Quigley says Murphy eventually got the money for his research, but it came at a price.

He says when Murphy blew the whistle on alleged misuse of donor funds, he was told his research was dead, and he was removed from university committees.

Quigley said in June 2020 Murphy was told his contract would not be renewed.

The University had alleged a much different story about its fallout with Doctor Murphy

The regents filed their own lawsuit against Murphy, a day before Murphy filed his.

In court documents the Regents claimed in part Murphy competed against the University while employed there as a full-time faculty member, misappropriated University resources for the benefit of himself and his affiliated businesses, and willfully concealed and retained income he received from sources other than UC San Diego.

They alleged it was all to enrich himself and his competing businesses at the University's expense.

The jury saw things differently.

"The jury saw through all of it,” Quigley said. “Obviously when you have a unanimous verdict on every question. They found he was retaliated against as a whistleblower and I think it sends a message to the Regents that you can’t treat your employees like that.”

Murphy says he plans to move forward and continue the research as he originally intended.

"I was in a position to stand up when others weren't,” Murphy said. “I saw this happen to other faculty and they couldn't or didn't stand up to it and I did.

The jury did award the Regents $67,000 in their counterclaim for money Murphy made on outside activities.

A spokesperson for UC San Diego Health said they aren’t commenting on the jury’s decision.