Trenton Times

Jurors award over $1 million to dismissed NJN employee


Staff Writer

TRENTON -- A Mercer County Superior Court jury yesterday awarded $1.1 million to a former New Jersey Network employee who alleged he was fired because of depression caused by his wife being diagnosed with cancer, one of the man's attorneys said.

 David Crump, 53, of Manasquan, was employed as a financial officer at NJN from 1987 to 1994, according to Thomas DeNoia of Toms River.

 When Crump's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 1994, he took time off from work to care for her, DeNoia said.

 On Aug. 16, 1994, Crump was fired, but NJN offered no explanation for the termination, DeNoia said.

 Crump's wife died in March, DeNoia said.

 In the lawsuit, Crump charged his firing was a violation of the Family Leave Act and of discrimination laws, DeNoia said. He said Crump was depressed over his wife's illness and was fired based on that perceived handicap.

 The jury yesterday found in favor of Crump and awarded him $500,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in lost wages, DeNoia said.

 DeNoia said the jury will also consider punitive damages against NJN. A court date of Sept. 27 has been set for the punitive damage phase, he said.

 DeNoia said Crump feels vindicated by yesterday's verdict, though money alone "can't resolve what they did to him."

 DeNoia argued the case along with attorneys Catherine Tambasco and G. John Germann before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria Sypek. NJN was represented by the state Attorney General's Office. The trial began Aug. 30.

 NJN spokeswoman Ronnie Weyll yesterday said, "The jury has spoken. We respect the court but we disagree with the decision. We are disappointed and we are looking at our legal options."

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        September 25, 1999

            Fired TV executive sues, wins $1.1 million, so far
           Published in the Asbury Park Press 9/25/99


            TRENTON -- On Monday, a Superior Court jury will deliberate about how much in punitive damages to award a Wall man who alleged
            New Jersey Network fired him because he suffered from depression after his wife was diagnosed with cancer.

            In mid-September, the jury awarded David Crump, 53, a chief financial officer for NJN from 1987 to 1994, $1.1 million in compensatory
            damages. It found that the network and its executive director violated the Family Leave Act and discrimination laws, according to Crump's

            Monday the jury will begin deciding a punitive damage amount, said Crump's attorney, Thomas DeNoia of Toms River.

            "I'm hoping for the best," Crump said last night. ""It took five years to get here.''

            The case is being tried before Superior Court Judge Maria Sypek in Trenton.

            Crump took days off sporadically after his wife was diagnosed in May 1994, he said, and then the first week in August off when he was
            having trouble with a medication he was taking for depression.

            When he returned to work on Aug. 16, 1994, NJN fired him without explanation, Crump said.

            His wife, Marion, died from cancer this March.

            "Certainly, money can't heal the wounds, but he feels vindicated and satisfied with the verdict," said DeNoia's partner and wife, Catherine
            Tambasco, who also represented Crump.

            After searching for a new job for about a year, Crump bought an air conditioning, ventilation and heating business he now runs out of his
            home, he said.

            NJN, the public television and radio network, which is being represented by the state attorney general's office, is unhappy with the trial's
            outcome, NJN spokeswoman Ronnie Weyl said.

            "The jury spoke," she said. ""We respect the court's decision. We don't agree with it, and we're very disappointed. The attorney general's
            office continues to insist that NJN acted legally."

            NJN's attorneys are exploring all options and may appeal, Weyl said.

            Published on September 25, 1999

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