SEATTLE (AP) — A judge has upheld a $17.5 million award to a neurosurgeon who says his former employer fired him in retaliation for questioning the practices of a fellow top doctor.

The Seattle Times reported Monday that Swedish Health appealed the September arbitration ruling that awarded $17.5 million to Dr. David Newell.

Swedish Health argued that it had fired Newell a year ago because he had violated his contract when he failed to inform it that he had been arrested in connection with a prostitution sting.

His lawyers say Newell was unaware he was the subject of a criminal investigation.

Newell has maintained that Swedish had been looking to fire him since he raised internal concerns about Dr. Johnny Delashaw, who later resigned and had his state licenses suspended.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com