Sanford Heisler Sharp Adds Additional Allegations and Two Commissioners as Defendants in Wrongful Termination and Retaliation Suit Against Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Posted January 17th, 2018.

New Material Details MNAA’s Attempts to Defame Wigington, Damage His Reputation, And Retaliate Against Him After He Filed His Federal Suit

For more information, contact Jamie Moss of newsPRos at (201) 493-1027 or jamie@newspros.com

January 17, 2018, Nashville, TN –Lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp representing Robert Wigington, the former President and CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (“MNAA”), in a wrongful termination, retaliation, and breach of contract lawsuit against the Authority were back in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee today to update the allegations of wrongdoing against his former employer.

Mr. Wigington initially filed suit against MNAA on December 4, 2017, alleging the Airport Authority discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Tennessee Disability Act (“TDA”) by refusing to allow him to resume his job duties and responsibilities when he returned to work after recovering from liver transplant surgery.

The Amended Complaint adds new information about actions MNAA took on December 13, nine days after the initial Complaint was filed, including the Airport Authority’s decision to classify Mr. Wigington’s termination as a “for cause” termination—effectively eliminating the severance package included in his employment contract—as well as releasing false and defamatory information to justify its decision and cause Mr. Wigington further reputational harm.

Moreover, today’s filing names Bobby Joslin and A. Dexter Samuels, the Chair and Vice Chair of MNAA’s Board of Commissioners, respectively as defendants. Both Mr. Joslin and Mr. Samuels are members of the Airport Authority’s Management Committee.

The Authority granted Mr. Wigington leave for his liver cancer surgery under the FMLA in late July. When he returned to work on September 5, he was told the Authority had decided to go in a “different direction” and that he was no longer a part of MNAA’s leadership team.  At this time, officials of the Authority did not provide Wigington any explanation for his termination.

On October 18, MNAA voted to terminate Mr. Wigington’s employment and attempted to justify its decision with a bogus account of adverse “reported behaviors.” The original Complaint debunked each of these so-called “reported behaviors” and alleged the evidence does not support the Board’s claim that reinstating Mr. Wigington would cause “substantial and grievous” economic injury to the Airport Authority’s operations.

The Amended Complaint alleges that Mr. Joslin and Mr. Samuels held a meeting where they made statements about Mr. Wigington that were either blatantly false or strategically mischaracterized and then used this information at a later meeting with the Airport Authority’s Board to recommend that Mr. Wigington’s termination be classified as “for cause.”

Kevin H. Sharp, Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Nashville office, and Hannah M. Wolf, an Associate at Sanford Heisler Sharp, represent Mr. Wigington in the lawsuit.

“Mr. Joslin, Mr. Samuels, and MNAA’s Board continue to flout state and federal laws after they wrongfully terminated Mr. Wigington,” said Sharp. “Their decision to terminate ‘for cause’ is a clear act of retaliation in response to Mr. Wigington’s lawsuit. The allegations cobbled together to justify this decision are totally fabricated and a heroic act of C-Y-A by MNAA’s Board members.”

Mr. Wigington’s Complaint now includes allegations of defamation and false light invasion of privacy in addition to his original charges of unlawful interference and denial of his FMLA benefits; discrimination and retaliation for requesting and taking FMLA leave; violation of the TDA; retaliatory discharge; breach of contract; and, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  The suit asks for a declaratory judgment that MNAA’s employment practices are unlawful and for nominal damages, compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and the reinstatement of Mr. Wigington at MNAA.

About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, Nashville, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating and trying cases. The Firm has recovered more than one billion dollars for individual clients and the United States government.

The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with claims of employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, consumer fraud, and whistleblowing, among other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, Sanford Heisler Sharp also represents individuals and has achieved extraordinary success in representing executives and attorneys in their employment disputes.

For more information, visit the Sanford Heisler Sharp’s website at www.sanfordheisler.com, contact the Firm at (202) 499-5200, or email Chairman David Sanford at dsanford@sanfordheisler.com.

Share this Press Release

Back to Top