Wal-Mart settles Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit

ELKINS – Wal-Mart has apparently settled a lawsuit brought by an Upshur County man who alleged he was wrongfully terminated from his position as a maintenance associate in its Buckhannon store.

Larry Zickefoose’s Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit was filed last year in Upshur County Circuit Court, but was removed to federal court by Wal-Mart, which claimed it is a citizen of Delaware and Arkansas.

Mediation was scheduled to take place until Dec. 31, and a stipulation of dismissal was filed Jan. 11. Terms were not disclosed, though Wal-Mart wrote in its removal notice that the amount of controversy exceeded $75,000.

“He alleges disability discrimination under the (ADA) and the West Virginia Human Rights Act and also asserts a claim for the tort of ‘outrage,’ also known as intentional infliction of emotional distress,” Wal-Mart’s attorneys wrote.

“On these claims, Plaintiff seeks unspecified amounts of ‘lost wages, lost benefits, future loss of earnings [and] future loss of benefits.’ Plaintiff also demands unliquidated compensatory damages for ‘emotional distress, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, physical pain [and] financial hardship,’ along with attorney’s fees and punitive damages…

“Thus, the total amount of damages Plaintiff seeks in this action exceeds $75,000.”

Zickefoose listed Wal-Mart Stores East, LLP, with a notice of process address in Charleston, as a defendant, and thus filed his suit in state court.

His allegations stated that he was employed by the store for more than eight years until his employment was terminated on Dec. 17, 2001. Zickefoose suffers from a condition that causes degenerative vision in his right eye.

Zickefoose said Wal-Mart was fully aware of his condition but eventually reduced his pay and hours while changing his job duties and title before firing him.

Zickefoose’s complaint asked for an amount in excess of $25,000. He was represented by Buckhannon attorney Erika Klie Kolenich.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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