The January 18, 2018, Richard DaPrato v Massachusetts Water Resources Authority $1,235,000 jury verdict has generated national media attention. Mr. DaPrato sued the MWRA for firing him because he took medical leave for foot surgery and planned future leave. He sued the MWRA in Suffolk Superior Court based on claims for discrimination and retaliation under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA (29 U.S.C. sec. 2601 et seq.)), The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and under the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act, M.G.L. c. 151B.
Mr. DaPrato was represented in the litigation by Bennett & Belfort partner David E. Belfort and senior associate Andrew S. McIlvaine . They co-counseled with attorney Robert S. Mantell of Powers, Jodoin, Margolis & Mantell LLP of Boston. After 7.5 days of trial and a second day of deliberations the 14 person jury found that Mr. DaPrato was deliberately retaliated against for taking medical leave for surgery and seeking future leave. The jury’s award is broken down as follows:
$ 19,777.00 Lost Back Pay
$ 300,000.00 Lost Front Pay
$ 200,000.00 Emotional Distress
$ 715,385.00 Punitive Damages
$1,235,162.00 Total Jury Award
- Media coverage of the jury verdict has included U.S. News & World Report (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/massachusetts/articles/2018-01-19/jury-awards-man-12-million-for-wrongful-termination );
- The Boston Globe ( https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/01/18/jury-awards-former-mwra-worker-million-for-wrongful-termination/e44l29ep4cVVcQR0WxSvwI/story.html );
- MLWeekly (http://masslawyersweekly.com/2018/01/25/fired-mwra-worker-awarded-1-2-million/ ); and
- Lexus Nexus’ Law 360 (https://www.law360.com/articles/1003895/ex-mass-authority-worker-awarded-1-2m-for-wrongful-firing );
- Also, ALM Verdict Search (https://www.alm.com/intelligence/solutions-we-provide/practice-of-law-solutions/verdictsearch/) and New England Jury Verdict Review & Analysis (https://www.jvra.com/general/publications.aspx) are expected to release their verdict reviews imminently.
The final judgment has not yet been issued, but is expected to include pre-judgment interest, liquidated damages under the FMLA and attorneys’ fees as permitted by state and federal law.