Frustrated with not being able to explain the complaints' context, a red-faced David Coppedge admitted to the lead defense attorney Tuesday that several employees had griped about his professionalism and ability clear back to 2004.
The terminated systems administrator read from his handwritten notes, which documented complaints his manager relayed to him eight years ago. At that time, Greg Chin passed along the co-workers' issues with Coppedge in an effort to have him adjust the way he interacted with people, defense attorney Jim Zapp said.
But Coppedge, and believes he was let go in 2011 as a retaliation for filing the lawsuit, balked at Zapp's questions that sought yes-or-no-only answers. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige explained that under cross examination, witnesses need to answer negatively or affirmatively, but not give extraneous details.
Still, Coppedge insisted that he provide context to a discussion with Chin where his longtime boss informed him that project managers wanted him removed from the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Multiple people, people with whom he did not have religious and political discussions, accused him of doing a poor job.
When Coppedge referred to this as "spindoctoring,'' Zapp refined the question.
"So you thought you were doing a fine job?,'' Zapp asked.
"I thought I was doing an adequate job that was suitable for my position,'' Coppedge said.
The plaintiff contends that JPL unfairly denied him the ability to discuss after employees accused him of harassing them with his views. Coppedge said that it was because of his talking about his belief in how the universe formed that he lost his team lead position on the Cassini project, and eventually lost his job.