Plaintiff: Workers' comp claim led to harassment, retaliation
|Wrongful Termination, Employment - Retaliation, Employment - Whistleblower|
|Rudolf Amaya v. Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc, Luis A Gaston, Carol McCartney, No. 09-89750-CA-01|
|Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, 11th, FL|
- Gonzalo R. Dorta; Gonzalo R. Dorta, P.A.; Coral Gables, FL, for Rudolf Amaya
- Pelayo Duran; The Law Offices of Pelayo Duran; Miami, FL, for Rudolf Amaya
- Roderick V. Hannah; Roderick V. Hannah, Esq., P.A.; Hollywood, FL, for Rudolf Amaya
- Ralph Focaracci; CPAs; Fort Lauderdale, FL called by: Gonzalo Dorta, Pelayo Duran, Roderick Hannah
- Ana Rivas-Vasquez; Forensic Psychiatry; Miami, FL called by: Gonzalo Dorta, Pelayo Duran, Roderick Hannah
- Gordon JamesIII; Sedgwick LLP; Fort Lauderdale, FL, for Luis A. Gaston, Carol McCartney, Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc.
- Javier J. Rodriguez; Perez & Rodriguez; Coral Gables, FL, for Luis A. Gaston, Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc.
- Heather Weeter; Sedgwick LLP; Fort Lauderdale, Fl, for Carol McCartney, Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc., Luis A. Gaston
- Ronald Patella; Economics; Fort Lauderdale, FL called by: Gordon James, Javier Rodriguez, Heather Weeter
- Sally Russell M.D.; Neuropsychology; MIami, FL called by: Gordon James, Javier Rodriguez, Heather Weeter
- Self-insured for Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc.
In November 2008, plaintiff Rudolf Amaya, 47, a warehouse worker, claimed that he was wrongfully terminated from his job with Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. in Miami Lakes.
Amaya sued Caterpillar along with his immediate supervisor, Luis A. Gaston, and Carol McCartney, head of the company's human resources department in Miami Lakes. Gaston was dismissed after reaching a confidential settlement with Amaya before trial. McCartney was dismissed due to her re-locating out of the country and never being served.
Amaya claimed that he suffered workplace harassment and retaliation after he filed a workers' compensation claim. He also accused the defendants of violating Florida's Whistleblowers Act.
Amaya claimed that suffered injuries to his lower back, right knee and right elbow while on the job in August 2008. He filed for workers' compensation and claimed that the company asked him to sign a document requesting him to waive his rights to make a claim against the company and to accept full responsibility for his injuries. Amaya claimed that when he refused to sign, Caterpillar informed him that he would be suspended without pay. He was called back to work a few days later and claimed that managers failed to follow his doctor's ordered restrictions. Amaya contended that he suffered harassment by management, which he claimed overscrutinized his work. He further claimed that he was assigned a light-duty job sweeping dust in the warehouse despite informing management that he was allergic to the dust.
In October 2008, Amaya claimed that he suffered a second on-the-job injury and was diagnosed with respiratory ailments. He claimed that after he filed another workers' compensation claim, the alleged harassment intensified. He claimed that his complaints of retaliation and harassment were never investigated. He claimed that he was terminated in November 2008.
Defense counsel claimed that Amaya was not terminated but indefinitely suspended and that he was on a medical leave of absence. They further contended that when Amaya was indefinitely suspended, he removed himself from the workforce by leaving a doctor's note with the human resources manager stating that he would be out of work.
Amaya claimed that he suffered workplace harassment, retaliation and eventual termination after he filed a workers' compensation claim with his employer.
Amaya claimed that he suffered emotional distress as a result. He further claimed that he suffered lost dignity, humiliation and depression. He claimed that he continues to undergo emotional counseling and takes medication for depression.
Defense counsel argued that Amaya was not fired but indefinitely suspended. They contended that Amaya was still an active employee and that he was on a medical leave of absence.
The jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff, determining that Amaya's damages totaled $617,126.
$79,280 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability
$537,846 Personal Injury: FutureLostEarningsCapability
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel declined to contribute.