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Attorney Claims She Was Fired for Taking Sick Leave
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Melissa C. Angeline says that she was fired from her law firm for taking sick leave from her firm, and is now suing the firm and its partners. The lawsuit, which is filed against Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman and attorneys Jason Copley, Marc Furman, and Jonathan Landesman, alleges that Angeline was unfairly fired, that she was defamed by the firm, and that her likeness was misappropriated by the firm’s website.

According to the Legal Intelligencer, Angeline’s complaint alleges that she was fired at the conclusion of leave she took under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and that the partners named in the suit told other attorneys that she was fired for poor performance. Angeline also claims that the firm kept her picture on the firm website after she left in an attempt to prevent her from finding new work.

  
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Angeline began working for Cohen Seglias, a Pennsylvania-based construction law firm, in 2007 as a contract attorney. She worked her way up to a senior counsel position in 2010, and says that she received performance ratings of “exceeds expectations.”

In April 2012, Angeline developed a health condition that led to her hospitalization for three days in May, which saw her miss a week of work. Angeline says that the time off was documented by Cohen Seglias as falling under FMLA, and that she requested intermittent leave for the foreseeable future to address her health. Her suit claims that in October, as her FMLA was “about to be exhausted for the year,” she was terminated, and the firm told her she was being temporarily laid off because of a lack of work.” Angeline says that in 2012, the firm experienced growth and hired several attorneys, and that she did not experience the “lack of work.”

Copley, who is the Cohen Seglias’ managing partner, told the Legal Intelligencer, “This is an unfortunate situation. However, we deny all of the allegations, which are entirely without merit as Cohen Seglias handled all aspects of Ms. Angeline’s employment with the firm in an appropriate and lawful manner.” He refused to comment further, but said that the firm has hired outside counsel to defend the case.

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Angeline is seeking wages, salary, and benefits lost, reinstatement, damages and attorney fees, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the defamation and misappropriation of her likeness.





 

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