234 F. Supp.2d 26 (2002) | Cited 0 times | D. Maine | December 16, 2002


The plaintiff Craig Brunelle claims that Cyro Industries, hisemployer, and the individual defendants unlawfully deniedhim leave andwrongfully terminated him in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq., and the Maine Family MedicalLeave Requirements law ("MFMLR"), 26 M.R.S.A. § 843, et seq. OnSeptember 30, 2002, I affirmed the Recommended Decision of the MagistrateJudge granting the defendant Borque's summary judgment motion in totaland the remaining defendants' summary judgment motion as to Count II(termination in violation of the FMLA) and that portion of Count III(violation of the MFMLR) alleging retaliatory job discrimination. Thedefendants now move to exclude all evidence that the plaintiff maypresent at trial regarding any wages or benefits that he lost subsequentto his termination from Cyro Industries on March 29, 2001.

An employee is entitled to recover damages from an employer whoviolates the employee's right to take leave. 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a),2617(a)(1)(A)(i); 26 M.R.S.A. § 848.1 If an employee isterminated for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, however, he isonly entitled to recover damages for an employer's FMLA violationsuffered prior to his discharge "because the valid termination . . .severs the employment relationship and the joint obligations whichcompose such a relationship." Hite v. Biomet, Inc., 53 F. Supp.2d 1013,1025 (N.D.Ind. 1999). Here, the Court granted summary judgment in favorof the defendants on the plaintiff's claim of retaliatory discharge,finding that the plaintiff had failed to overcome the legitimate,non-discriminatory reason for termination given by the defendants. As aresult, the plaintiff is not entitled to lost wages or benefits after thedate of his discharge from Cyro Industries.

In objecting to the defendants' motion to exclude evidence of damages,the plaintiff notes that this case should be dismissed if he cannot showthat he could recover damages. Dawson v. Leewood Nursing Home, Inc.,14 F. Supp.2d 828, 834 (E.D.Va. 1998). I find that the record is notclear whether the plaintiff incurred or seeks damages for any allegedviolations prior to his discharge.2 Accordingly, I order the partiesto show cause by January 3, 2003, why I should not dismiss this case.


1. As the defendants point out in their Motion in Limine (Docket No.34), lost wages and benefits are not at issue with respect to theplaintiff's state law claim because remedies under the MFMLR are limitedto equitable relief and liquidated damages in the amount of $100 per dayfor each day the violation continues.

2. It also appears that an employee is not entitled to recoveremotional distress or punitive damages for an FMLA violation. Hite v.Biomet, Inc., 53 F. Supp.2d 1013, 1024 n. 13 (N.D.Ind. 1999).

Back to top