Lennox International, Inc. , Service Experts, LLC (FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act)

Lennox International, Inc. , Service Experts, LLC (FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act)

Lennox InternationalIN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

GREGORY R. BELLI,

Plaintiff,

vs. Case No:

LENNOX INTERNATIONAL INC.,
AND SERVICE EXPERTS, LLC.
Defendant(s).

________________________________/

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff, Gregory R. Belli, by and through his undersigned counsel, sues Defendants, Lennox International Inc. and Service Experts, LLC., (hereinafter called “Defendants”), and alleges as follows:
JURISDICTION AND PARTIES
1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney’s fees.
2. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within Brevard County, Florida.
3. Plaintiff is and has been a resident of Brevard County, Florida, at all times material herein.
COUNT I
VIOLATION OF THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)

4. This is an action brought pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. Sections 2601 to 2654, to obtain relief for violation of medical leave rights guaranteed by the FMLA.
5. Plaintiff was an “employee” as defined by FMLA Statute, 29 U.S.C. §2611(2) from 2002 through 2007.
6. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant(s) in excess of twelve months and for at least 1250 hours over the twelve months prior to her termination.
7. Defendants employed in excess of 50 employees for each working day during each of twenty (20) or more calendar work weeks in the year culminating in Plaintiff’s termination.
8. Defendant, Lennox International Inc., is a Texas corporation, doing business in the State of Florida.
9. Defendant, Service Experts LLC, is a Florida Limited Liability Company, which is a subsidiary of Lennox International Inc., doing business in the State of Florida.
10. At all times material hereto, Defendants were doing business in Brevard County, Florida, under the name Service Experts LLC.
11. Plaintiff worked for Defendants as a Salesman and Serviceman from May 20, 2007 through November 5, 2007.
12. On or about August 26, 2007 the Plaintiff informed Service Experts, LLC, that Plaintiff was required to undergo a Hernia operation in mid September. Plaintiff offered to work on light duty, but after a couple of days of such endeavor, Plaintiff was told that there was no more light duty and that he should take a leave of absence.
13. Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, approved the FMLA leave.
14. Plaintiff exercised his FMLA rights and was informed by the Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, that he had to return back to work on a full time capacity by November 5, 2007. On November 5, 2007, Plaintiff returned to work on a full time capacity but was told by Kevin Barrett of Service Experts, LLC. that he no longer had a job
15. Defendant blatantly disregarded 29 U.S.C. §2615 in direct violation of Congress’ Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and terminated the Plaintiff while he was on FMLA leave.
16. The Defendants’ actions against the Plaintiff in violation of the FMLA were done wantonly, maliciously, willfully and with the intent to do harm to Plaintiff.
17. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay him a reasonable fee.
18. Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
19. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
20. At all times during his employment with Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, Plaintiff performed all duties assigned to him in a professionally competent manner.
21. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe damage to his financial welfare, by reason of Defendant, Service Experts, LLC., unlawful actions against the Plaintiff.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendants’, as follows:
A. Judgment for all wages, salary, employment benefits and other compensation denied or lost Plaintiff by reason of Defendants’ violation of the FMLA;
B. Interest;
C. An additional amount as liquidated damages;
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
E. Such other damages as may be just and proper.

COUNT II
EQUITABLE ESTOPPEL

22. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 21 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
21. Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, misrepresented to the Plaintiff that he was eligible for FMLA leave in that on September 13, 2007 the Defendant informed the Plaintiff that he needed to fill out the leave of absence / FMLA paperwork, therefore the Defendants should be estopped from challenging the Plaintiff’s eligibility for FMLA leave.
22. Plaintiff reasonably relied on the Defendant’s misrepresentation that he was eligible for FMLA leave. The Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, informed the Plaintiff that he needed to fill out the leave of absence / FMLA paperwork and the Plaintiff completed the proper paperwork by September 26, 2007. Thereafter, the Plaintiff kept in communications with the Defendant, Service Experts, LLC, with the understanding that he was on FMLA leave until November 5, 2007 when he was cleared to return to work without restrictions by his physician.
23. Plaintiff was harmed by his reliance of the Defendant’s misrepresentations in that he terminated from his position during the time in which he understood he was on protected FMLA leave.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against the Defendants, as follows:
A. Judgment for all wages, salary, employment benefits and other compensation denied or lost Plaintiff by reason of Defendants’ violation of the FMLA;
B. Interest;
C. An additional amount as liquidated damages;
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
E. Such other damages as may be just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.
DATED: This _____ day of December, 2007.

ALLEN & ARCADIER, P.A.

________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0110025
Mauricio Arcadier, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 131180
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681