U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

3rd Circuit Revives FMLA Case Against Boscov's

In a way, the farmer's market was mixing apples and oranges.

Craig Zuber, who worked at the Fairgrounds Farmer's Market in Reading, Pennsylvania, signed a settlement agreement after he was injured on the job. He then sued the company for Family Medical Leave Act violations and other claims.

Boscov's, the employer, said he waived his right to sue when he settled the injury case. A federal appeals court said, that's different.

Family Medical Leave Act

In Zuber v. Boscov's, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said it came down to the plain language of the Compromise and Release.

"Because of the C&R's ordinary meaning and structure, we hold that the C&R is unambiguously a specific and limited release rather than a general release," the panel said.

The appeals court said Zuber merely released his right to bring a future workers compensation claim. The release did not prohibit him from suing for other claims.

Zuber sued his employer for retaliation and FMLA violations . He alleged that after he returned to work from his injury, the company misled him about family leave and fired him for filing a worker's comp claim.

Reversed and Remanded

A trial judge dismissed the case, concluding Zuber had released the company. The appeals court, however, reversed unanimously.

The Third Circuit revived the lawsuit and remanded it to the district court for further proceedings. Boscov's attorneys said the company is considering whether to appeal.

The retailer operates about 50 department stores in seven states.

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