SUMMERSVILLE -- A Nicholas County man claims he was wrongly terminated after falling on the job and filing for workers' compensation.

On Nov. 26, 2005, Teddy Rapp of Calvin was working for Freedom Homes. While performing his regular job functions, he sustained an lumbar spine injury that has left him permanently disabled.

In the suit originally filed on Feb. 11 in Nicholas County, Rapp claims following his fall that he returned to light duty work on May 17, 2006. However, Freedom Homes would not make reasonable accommodations for his disability, and in fact, discharged Rapp on June 12, 2006.

Rapp claims that his discharge was due to his filing for and receiving workers' compensation benefits.

Filed by attorney Harry Bell of the Charleston firm of Bell & Bands, the suit claims that Freedom Homes discriminated against Rapp. Rapp is seeking a trial by jury to award compensatory damages for lost wages or reinstatement, interest on those wages, embarrassment, emotional distress, and mental anguish; punitive damages for intentional and willful violation of state public policy; and attorney's fees.

Rapp and Bell filed the complaint in the Circuit Court of Nicholas County, and now, CMH Homes (d/b/a Freedom Homes) is seeking a removal from the Circuit Court of Nicholas County to the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Filed by Johnnie Brown and Ashley Burton of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe, the removal is being sought by Freedom Homes for three reasons. Firstly, Freedom Homes is a Tennessee corporation. Secondly, Rapp is seeking more than $75,000 dollars, excluding interests and costs. Also, Rapp is seeking attorney's fees and punitive damages.

Because of these, Freedom Homes believes the District Court of the United States has original jurisdiction.




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