East County Transport moving to hold off $100,000 retaliatory discharge judgment

Amelia Flood Dec. 4, 2010, 2:59am

East County Transport is asking a Madison County judge to hold off enforcing a $100,000 judgment won by a former employee until the company has a chance to take its case to the appellate court.

A notice of appeal was received Dec. 1 in the suit filed by former East County Transport employee Frank Cantlon.

Cantlon claims he was fired after seeking worker's compensation for a knee injury he suffered at work.

The company claims that Cantlon failed to follow the proper procedures related to a drug test and that it fired him for that reason.

The case was tried in June.

The jury awarded Cantlon $100,000 in damages including $28,000 in lost earnings and $36,000 for emotional distress. It rounded out the verdict by awarding $36,000 in punitive damages.

The defense filed a motion seeking to set aside the verdict July 6.

In that motion the defense argues that the plaintiff did not prove his case.

"The trial record is completely devoid of any evidence that establishes a causal connection between plaintiff's filing for worker's compensation benefits and his discharge from employment," the motion reads. "In fact, the evidence clearly showed he discharged as a result of his failure to follow company procedures and protocols with regard to drug testing."

Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman denied the post-trial motion Oct. 21.

East County then filed a motion asking the judge to stay the enforcement of the verdict until its appeal is heard Nov. 19.

Chapman will take up that motion Dec.30 at 8:30 a.m.

Michael Brunton represents Cantlon.

Stephen Mudge represents East County.

The case was previously assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth.

Chapman oversaw the June trial of the case.

The case is Madison case number 06-L-435.

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