Millennium Rail, a railcar repair company which is part of an international railroad conglomerate, terminated repairman Danny Smith after he requested a leave of absence for carpal tunnel surgery in 2014. Danny hired attorney Sean McGivern and filed a lawsuit alleging work-comp. retaliation and violations of the Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Millennium Rail vigorously defended itself. The company hired a nationally-renowned Seattle attorney to defend the lawsuit, and the case went to trial on May 30, 2017. On the second day of jury trial, the company’s regional HR manager made the following admissions in his testimony:
Q. Would you agree with me that Danny Smith should not have been terminated over his attendance?
Q. Would you agree with me that Danny Smith’s termination violated the FMLA?
On the third day of jury trial, the company’s work comp manager was asked similar questions. During her cross examination, she was asked to review company records showing Danny Smith was on medical leave the day his employment ended. With reference to these records, she admitted that the company violated its FMLA policy by terminating Danny when he was on medical leave.
Danny Smith reached a favorable settlement with Millennium Rail before the case was submitted to the jury.