CIVIL RIGHTS – RETALIATORY DISCHARGE FOR FILING WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM
Publication: Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter
Danny Smith v Bally Total Fitness 04L-5407 Tried Feb. 6-10, 2006
Verdict: $1,665,121: $165,121 compensatory damages ($65,121 lost wages; $100,000 emotional distress), $1,500,000 punitive damages.
Special Interrogatory: Was plaintiff discharged in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act? “Yes.”
Judge: Barbara A. McDonald (IL Cook-Law)
Pltf Atty(s): Dean Caras of Dean Caras & Associates. DEMAND: $225,000 ASKED: $2,665,121
Deft Atty(s): Allen P. Walker and Kathryn M. Woodward of Green & Letts OFFER: $50,000
Plaintiff M-43, formerly employed as a maintenance mechanic at Bally Total Fitness in Calumet City, contended he was fired by deft Bally on Jan. 20, 2004, in retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim ($65,121 LT 20 months). Plaintiff testified that the Regional Maintenance Director told him the reason for his termination was that his injury was costing the company too much money. PM also testified he was terminated the day before his scheduled surgery for the work injury. Defense argued that plaintiff was fired for violation of company policy (theft and fraud) and denied he was terminated for filing a camp claw. Court barred evidence of future lost wages and future emotional distress.