Kinder Morgan River Terminals sued over worker's termination

Kelly Holleran Oct. 6, 2010, 5:50am

A man claims he suffered damages of more than $1 million after his employer terminated him.

Anthony Frank Distefano filed a lawsuit Sept. 28 in Madison County Circuit Court against Kinder Morgan doing business as Kinder Morgan River Terminals and Tammy Moeller-Clark.

Distefano claims Moeller-Clark fired him on March 17 after he reported a back injury to upper management.

The back injury occurred on March 14 as Distefano was working at Kinder Morgan's Sauget facility, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff reported the injury to the guard on duty that night, he called the plant supervisor, Dan Gerovac, to inform him of the fall, and he called Kinder Morgan's Human Resource Department to inform them of the fall," the suit states.

After his fall, Distefano received medical treatment, and his physician advised him that he was to remain off work for two days, the complaint says.

On March 15, Moeller-Clark called Distefano, telling him he needed to come to the office immediately to fill out an accident report -- something Distefano claims he could not do because of the medications he was taking that prevented him from driving.

Also during the phone call, Moeller-Clark allegedly informed Distefano that she was dissatisfied that he had reported the accident because it marked the company's first reportable accident for the year, according to the complaint.

"How did this happen?" Distefano recalls Moeller-Clark saying. "Why did you even report this, don't you know you caused this facility its first reportable accident this year?"

When Distefano returned to work on March 17, he found his office and desk had been rummaged through, the suit states. Upon questioning Moeller-Clark about it, Distefano was told Moeller-Clark needed to see him in her office, the complaint says.

"Ms. Moeller-Clark, along with her supervisor who conferenced in via telephone, began to state that Plaintiff violated Kinder Morgan policy as a result of the accident and that the accident would impact the accident rating for the facility and how could plaintiff have allowed this accident to occur," the suit states.

Continuing on, Moeller-Clark allegedly threatened to terminate Distefano unless he resigned, which he did after much coercion and harassment, according to the complaint.

Because of his discharge, Distefano claims he incurred lost wages, suffered harm to his reputation and endured consequential damages of more than $1 million.

In his complaint, Distefano seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Jeff P. Hoseman of Barklage, Brett, Wibbenmeyer and Hamill in St. Charles will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-1003.

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