Defense asks to push off retaliatory discharge trial in suit against Millennium Rail

Amelia Flood Jan. 3, 2011, 5:21am


Defendants in a retaliatory discharge case filed last year are asking to push off a Jan. 10 trial date.

Millennium Rail, Inc. and Watco Companies Inc. filed their motion to move the trial date on Dec. 17.

They assert that initial discovery in the suit brought by plaintiff William Sinclair is still on-going and that Sinclair's own deposition is not scheduled until Jan. 26.

Sinclair is suing the companies for compensatory and other damages related to his Feb. 6, 2009 firing.

According Sinclair's first amended complaint, when he showed up for work on that date, he was told that he did not have a job with Millennium and Watco and was to leave or he would be arrested for trespassing.

Sinclair had been injured at work in May 2006 and sought workers' compensation benefits.

The settlement contract attached to the first amended complaint shows that injury was osteoarthritis in both Sinclair's thumbs.

That action resulted in a December 2008 settlement approved by an arbiter.

Sinclair claims he was fired two months later due to the settlement.

The settlement was for $105,000 with Sinclair receiving $93,513.12 after costs.

Sinclair is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, costs and punitive damages in excess of $50,000.

Sinclair is also seeking damages under the state's Whistleblower Act and Illinois Human Rights Act.

He claims the defendants tried to coerce him into giving up his right to continued employment in exchange for settling the workers' compensation claim.

Sinclair also asserts that the defendants violated the Human Rights Act by refusing to accommodate his disability as required by law.

In the move to continue the trial, the defendants claim that it will not prejudice either side to push off the Jan. 10 date.

Lee Barron represents Sinclair.

James Paul represents the defendants.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge is assigned to oversee the case.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-358.

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