HUNTINGTON – A lawsuit alleging Verizon Wireless violated the Family Medical Leave Act has been removed to federal court.

The civil action is properly removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for two reasons, the July 27 notice of removal states.

"First, this lawsuit arises under FMLA, a federal law, and this court has original jurisdiction.." the notice states. "Second (and alternatively) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00 and there is complete diversity if citizenship among the parties."

Verizon Wireless is doing business as Cellco Partnership.

On July 27, 2007, Justin Vandevander was hired by the defendant as an assistant store manager, and worked his way up to the position of major account manager by 2014, according to a complaint originally filed June 24 in Cabell Circuit Court and removed to federal court on July 27.

Vandevander claims in March 2013 he met Trista Simon, another employee of the company who worked in a different region, and they began a relationship and were married April 19.

In November, Vandevander notified his manager, Carolyn Phillips, that Simon was expecting their child to be born around July 16, and that he would require leave from work to attend physician's visits with Simon, who was in Pennsylvania then, for their expected child during her pregnancy.

Phillips told Vandevander that he would need to use vacation time for the doctor's visits involving prenatal care and did not provide him with any documentation as required under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the suit.

Vandevander claims at various times, he took time from work to attend medical visits with Simon and on March 20, the defendant terminated his employment, but did not provide him with a specific reason for his termination.

Since his termination, Vandevander has sought suitable, gainful employment, which he has not yet found, according to the suit.

Vandevander is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Hoyt Glazer, Ben Sheridan and Mitchell L. Klein of Klein, Sheridan & Glazer LC.

Verizon is being represented by Eric W. Iskra and Gordon L. Mowen II of Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC.

The case is assigned to District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:15-cv-11540

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