Frontier defeats $3.6M wrongful termination claim

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 25, 2013

MADISON - A defense verdict was reached recently in a lawsuit against Frontier West Virginia Inc. in which a former employee was claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his employment.

Frontier Communications Corporate Services Inc., Frontier Communications ILEC Holdings Inc., Frontier Communications of America Inc. and Dempsey Dickson were also named as defendants in the suit.

Matthew A. Montali was employed by the defendants for approximately 14 months until his employment was terminated on Aug. 3, 2011, according to a complaint filed Jan. 23, 2012, in Boone Circuit Court.

Montali claimed the defendants terminated his employment in retaliation for his attempt to receive Workers' Compensation benefits and because of his disability and/or perceived disability and/or the defendants' failure to accommodate his disability.

Montali was seeking $3.6 million in lost wages, benefits, back pay, front pay and punitive damages. He was represented by Mark A. Atkinson of Atkinson & Polak and Harry M. Hatfield of Hatfield & Hatfield.

Frontier was represented by J. David Fenwick and Ben Ware of Goodwin & Goodwin.

After the six-day trial, a jury returned a defense verdict, stating that they believed the defendants did not wrongfully terminate Montali's employment and that they believed Montali's attempt to receive Workers' Compensation benefits was not a substantial factor in the defendants' decision to terminate his employment, according to a verdict form filed March 18 in Boone Circuit Court.

"The plaintiff was overreaching with what he was asking in damages," Fenwick said. "This defense verdict was fair and was rewarding."

The case was presided over by Circuit Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 12-C-11

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