Madison - St. Clair Record

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Fired assisted-living employee alleges defamation

By Carol Ostrow | Jul 20, 2015

A Madison County man is suing an assisted living facility and one of its employees for allegedly firing him following a fake accusation of sexual harassment.

David Biggs of Belleville filed a lawsuit on July 7 in Madison County Circuit Court against Nicholas Scheibel, individually and as agent for Bravo Care of Wood River Inc., doing business as Foxes Grove Supportive Living Community, alleging libel and defamation in 2014.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 21, 2014, Scheibel fired Biggs because of a sexually harassing statement made about a female employee, “when, in fact, he knew that the plaintiff did not make the statement” and was purportedly told by several witnesses that Biggs did not make the statement.

The suit says the company acted with malice when it terminated Biggs, that it intentionally and maliciously made a defamatory statement about Biggs which “deters third persons from associating with him,” and also breached its duty of ordinary care to the plaintiff and his reputation.

The plaintiff alleges great emotional distress, embarrassment and a damaged reputation in the community, along with being placed “in a false light before the public.” The suit says he suffered loss of income, mental anguish, humiliation and distress.

Biggs seeks damages of more than $50,000, punitive damages of $150,000, attorney fees and costs. He is represented by attorney Bob Perica of The Perica Law Firm in Wood River.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-860.

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