CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County man is suing Marriott International and Charleston Marriott after he claims he was fired for applying for workers’ compensation benefits and using self defense against a patron who attacked him.
Ramona Jackson and Keith Burke were also named as defendants in the suit.
Eduardo F. Rodriguez was employed at the Charleston Marriott beginning in 1994 and on Nov. 24, he was working when he saw on the closed circuit television monitors a young man in the Business Center seated in front of a computer and masturbating, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Rodriguez claims he ran to the Business Center to address the situation and, once he arrived, he asked the young man what he was doing and the man said nothing.
When Rodriguez told the young man that he had seen him masturbating in public, the young man became agitated and his eyes started twitching and Rodriguez observed that the young man appeared to be disturbed and was not acting rationally, according to the suit.
Rodriguez claims he placed his left hand on the young man’s shoulder to take control of the situation, but the young man remained in the chair and, after Rodriguez pointed at the camera in the room and pulled out his cell phone to call the police, the young man cursed at him and threatened to kill him.
The young man then attacked Rodriguez, choking and scratching him around his neck and on his face, according to the suit.
Rodriguez claims because of the verbal threat and the physical attack, he believed he was in imminent danger and exercised his well established right to engage in self-defense in an effort to defend himself against the young man attacking and threatening to kill him.
In the ensuing scuffle, the young man broke the skin in several places on Rodriguez’s body and hit and kicked him multiple times and Rodriguez left the Business Center, bleeding from his wounds, to contact the police, according to the suit.
Rodriguez claims once the police arrived, he explained what had happened and then went to seek immediate medical attention.
Due to concerns over the possibility of being exposed to any communicable disease, the health care providers advised Rodriguez to miss work for a couple of days so that testing and treatment could be completed and, when he was released to return to work on Nov. 28, he was informed that he was being suspended without pay so that the defendants could investigate what happened, according to the suit.
Rodriguez claims on Dec. 12, the defendants informed him that his employment was being terminated based on the actions that occurred on Nov. 24.
The defendants discriminated against Rodriguez for seeking workers’ compensation benefits and for engaging in self defense, according to the suit.
Rodriguez is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Lonnie C. Simmons of DiTrapano, Barrett, DiPiero, McGinley & Simmons.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 17-C-419