Jury Awards Ex-Manager at Chase $2.2M in FMLA Suit

April 3, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A former regional manager at Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp. has been awarded more than $2.2 million in an employment discrimination suit alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Once liquidated damages equal to the amount of the verdict as well as prejudgment interest are added in as mandated under the FMLA the recovery could fall somewhere between $6.2 million and $7.6 million, said Amanda A. Farahany of Barrett & Farahany, who represented Nicholas Lore, according to Law.com. On March 17, a federal jury found that Lore did have a serious health condition, that he gave Chase proper notice of his need for time off, and that he should get damages for lost wages and benefits, but rejected Chase’s counterclaim that Lore had violated the Georgia Trade Secrets Act.

Lore alleged in his employment discrimination suit that he was denied FMLA rights and was eventually fired retaliation for attempting to exercise those rights. About 10 months after filing the suit, Chase filed a counterclaim, alleging that after Lore voluntarily left the bank and that he violated certain provisions of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act by selling confidential information about Chase’s relationship managers’ compensation plans to a competitor for $2,000, the news report said.

Lore admitted that while working as an independent consultant after leaving Chase he collected information via telephone from various employees at Chase and at four other banks related to their relationship managers’ compensation, and then sold that information. However, he said that Chase’s trade secrets counterclaim was made in bad faith and for the sole purpose of retaliating against his FMLA action.

Chase asked for summary judgment on the issues of whether Lore had proven he had a serious health condition meriting FMLA leave and whether Lore had violated the Georgia Trade Secrets Act, according to Law.com. In December 2006, a U.S. District Judge denied summary judgment on the issue of Lore’s health, but granted summary judgment on the trade secrets issue.

The jury was charged with deciding whether Lore was fired or had resigned, whether he had a serious health condition, and what, if any, damages Chase had suffered from the trade secrets breach. The jury declined to award Chase any damages on the trade secrets violation.

Chase asked that the jury reduce Lore’s damages by not adding in any wages and benefits he earned after July 2004, when he violated the Georgia Trade Secrets Act, but the jury refused, awarding Lore $2,227,241.