Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Suit versus Bradford Regional Airport remains unresolved

A federal lawsuit for the alleged wrongful termination of former Bradford Regional Airport director Tom Frungillo has been before a mediator, but has yet to be resolved.

The suit, filed in federal court in Erie in May, is against the Bradford Regional Airport Authority, its advisory board and the counties of McKean, Cameron, Elk and Warren.

Frungillo, who had been employed at Bradford airport 16 years, alleges he was fired because he began to suffer from disabilities and needed reasonable accommodations which the authority did not provide.

The authority’s attorney, Mark Kuhar of Erie, said Frungillo never disclosed a disability, never requested an accommodation and behaved in an unprofessional and unproductive manner to airport employees. The same argument is set forth in an answer and counterclaim filed by Kuhar.

A mediation session was held Sept. 20. While the case was not resolved, mediator Thomas Frampton noted, “The parties have asked (Frampton) to stay involved in the case to provide further assistance with settlement efforts.”

Kuhar noted the parties have agreed to schedule a status conference in 2017 to discuss whether summary judgment motions will be filed. “The parties have explored settlement at mediation but have not reached an agreement. Settlement will be further explored after discovery.”

The period for discovery ends March 31, he noted.

According to the suit, toward the end of his employment at the airport, Frungillo began to suffer from disabilities, including health conditions related to his back as well as severe stress, the complaint alleged. He was still able to do his job, but would at times “need reasonable accommodations.”

In September 2014, Frungillo took a brief vacation and was scheduled to return to work. However, the complaint read, he requested additional time off “to care for and treat” his health conditions, and had “more than enough benefit time to cover his absences” during that time frame.

On Sept. 17, 2014, he was terminated by the authority “without any warning or explanation and clearly in retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodations for his disabilities and/or because of his perceived disabilities,” the complaint read.

In the suit, Frungillo is seeking compensation for any and all pay and benefits he would have received if not for the alleged wrongful termination; punitive damages; costs and expenses of the suit; and a trial by jury.

Frungillo is being represented by Ari Karpf of Karpf, Karpf and Cerutti P.C. of Bensalem.

Source:  http://www.bradfordera.com

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