Former employee sues Foster Foundation for wrongful termination

By Kyla Asbury | May 7, 2013

HUNTINGTON - A former employee is suing Foster Foundation for allegedly wrongfully terminating her employment after she suffered an on-the-job injury.

HUNTINGTON - A former employee is suing Foster Foundation for allegedly wrongfully terminating her employment after she suffered an on-the-job injury.

Foster Foundation is doing business as the Woodlands Retirement Community.

Charles M. Stephens was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Linda S. Copley was employed by Foster from Oct. 20, 2007, until March 30, 2012, according to a complaint filed April 25 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Copley claims she suffered an on-the-job injury on April 24, 2011, while assisting a resident of the facility, and suffered injuries to her arm, shoulder and back.

After suffering the injuries, Copley went to St. Mary's Medical Center Emergency Room to receive treatment for her injuries and, after being treated at St. Mary's, she missed three days of work and when she returned, still had pain in her arm, back and shoulder, according to the suit.

Copley claims in June 2011, she received further treatment from Dr. Daniel Whitmore at Valley Health due to the ongoing issues caused by the injuries and Whitmore diagnosed her with rotator cuff tendinitis.

In August 2011, Whitmore referred Copley to Dr. Stanley Tao, an orthopedic specialist at Scott Orthopedic, and through an MRI, Tao diagnosed Copley with a rotator cuff tear, scheduled her for surgery on Oct. 28, 2011, and informed her that after her surgery, she would need six to eight months for recovery, according to the suit.

Copley claims throughout this process, from the date of the injury until the date of her surgery, she continued to work and perform her essential job functions, even though she was in significant pain.

When Copley informed Stephens that she would be off of work for the surgery and that this was a continuation of the effects of the April 2011 injury, Stephens took it upon himself to contact the Workers' Compensation carrier, Strategic Comp Services, which subsequently denied Copley's request for coverage for the shoulder, according to the suit.

Copley claims Strategic Comp covered the injuries to her back, but still denied the rotator cuff and arm injuries.

Despite the fact that Copley was eligible to receive or was receiving Workers' Compensation benefits, Foster, through Stephens, terminated her employment on March 30, 2012, according to the suit.

Copley claims the defendants discriminated against her and violated West Virginia code and the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

The defendants had a duty not to intentionally inflict emotional distress upon Copley and breached that duty when they intentionally and without regard for her emotional well-being, subjected her to discrimination and retaliation and by failing to take appropriate measures to prevent such conduct when they terminated her employment, according to the suit.

Copley is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by Abraham J. Saad of Abraham J. Saad PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 13-C-260

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