A Suffolk County jury today awarded $1,235,000 to Richard DaPrato against the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). In reaching today’s verdict, the jury concluded that the MWRA deliberately retaliated against Mr. DaPrato after 11 years of unblemished service by firing him for taking medical leave for surgery, and for requesting future leave.
Mr. DaPrato was represented by David E. Belfort of Bennett & Belfort PC of Cambridge and Robert S. Mantel of Powers, Jodoin, Margolis & Mantell LLP of Boston. The jury strongly rejected the Authority’s argument that Mr. Daprato violated the public trust. Instead, the jury found that the MWRA, a public entity, violated Mr. DaPrato’s rights to medical leave under both the Family Medical Leave Act and the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act (M.G.L. 151B)
The Jury awarded Mr. Daprato $320,000 in lost pay damages, including his future pension losses, in addition to $200,000 in emotional distress damages. The Jury issued punitive damages to deter future outrageous conduct by the MWRA in an amount of $715,000.
David Belfort said, “This decision affirms the rights of employees to request and take legally protected medical leave without being subjected to adverse action.”
The final judgment, which has not yet been entered, will also include pre-judgment interest and a petition for Mr. DaPrato’s attorneys’ fees is forthcoming. (See Jury Verdict Slip Below)