Update (2/6/2012): No luck for the Crummy employer. The trial court’s decision against Enterprise Minnesota was affirmed in all respects. Congratulations to plaintiff’s counsel (and Minnesota Litigator guest poster), T.J. Conley!
Original Post (2/22/2011): The case of plaintiff/former employee Richard Crummy against his former employer, Enterprise Minnesota, is a sad story, all told, but apparently one with a happy ending for Mr. Crummy (bearing in mind that “appeals happen,” of course).
As Hennepin County Judge Margaret A. Daly saw the case that was tried before her in a three-day bench trial last month, “common sense and good judgment, not to mention compassion, went out the window” at defendant employer Enterprise Minnesota (“EM”) with substantial harm to Richard Crummy, a sole breadwinner for a family with five children. Crummy was awarded $251,693 in front/back pay, $40,000 for mental anguish and suffering, and a two-times compensatory damages multiplier for an unfair discriminatory practice by EM ($583,386). The Court noted that Crummy is also entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees under the Minnesota Human Rights Act or MHRA.
Twin Cities employment lawyer, T.J. Conley, represented Crummy. David Duddleston, Managing Partner at the Minneapolis office of the national employment law firm of Jackson Lewis (“All We Do Is Work”) and JL/Mpls associate, Sara Gail Sidwell represented Enterprise Minnesota.
Judge Daly’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are here. In a nutshell, it seems that Mr. Crummy has had some challenges throughout his life with mild dyslexia, which never prevented him from excelling at his work. Things apparently kind of spun out of control at Enterprise Minnesota, however, when Mr. Crummy shared this information at work and Enterprise Minnesota Human Resources personnel, apparently untrained in dealing with disability law or the state human rights act, got involved.
As Judge Daly’s opinion reads, Crummy’s tale is almost Kafkaesque as a “non-problem problem” inexplicably seems to have morphed into a nightmare of something approaching persecution.