Only non-economic damages sought in employment retaliation case. $575K. Riverside County.
Cable guy takes FMLA time off, supervisor doesn't like it. He's fired.
- Case Name: Lave v. Charter Communications, LLC
- Court and Case Number: Riverside / RIC 1508865
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, May 19, 2017
- Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
- Type of Action: Employment
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. John W. Vineyard
- Plaintiffs: Anthony Lave, 53, broadband technician.
- Defendants: Charter Communications, LLC
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $575,000
- Economic Damages:
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 20 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/4 days.
- Jury Polls: 12-0
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: As a prevailing party in a FEHA case, plaintiff will file a motion for attorneys' fees.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
The Rager Law Firm by Jeffrey A. Rager and James Y. Yoon, Torrance.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Fisher & Phillips LLP by Regina A. Petty, San Diego.
Fisher & Phillips LLP by Zack I. Domb, Los Angeles.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Anthony E. Reading, Ph.D., psychology, Beverly Hills.
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
James Rosenberg, M.D., psychiatry, Woodland Hills.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Allison West, employment practices, Pacifica.
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Amy Oppenheimer, employment practices, Berkeley.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff started working for defendant company in May 2008 as a broadband technician. On January 5, 2015, he took a day off for a preexisting back condition. He was counseled the following day for attendance.
On January 8, 2015, plaintiff filed a formal complaint of retaliation. From January 9, 2015 to January 22, 2015, plaintiff took FMLA leave. When plaintiff notified Charter of his back injury and need for leave, his supervisor responded to human resources that he was speechless and shaking his head.
The same supervisor suspended him on February 10, 2015. Plaintiff never returned to work after the suspension as he was fired a week later. The reason given by defendant company for the suspension was due to a customer complaint that alleged that plaintiff was acting inappropriately. Charter then fired plaintiff on February 10, 2015.
Plaintiff was able to find a job with comparable compensation within three months. He was not treated for emotional distress.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff contended that defendant retaliated against him for taking FMLA leave, sick time based upon disability, and for complaining of retaliation for taking sick time.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant contended that plaintiff used inappropriate language in front of a customer and spoke ill of the company. As a result, he was terminated.
Injuries and Other Damages
Plaintiff claimed only emotional distress arising from his termination.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $250,000