• ITVI.USA
    12,124.580
    -525.260
    -4.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    27.850
    -0.080
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,070.710
    -528.180
    -4.2%
  • TLT.USA
    3.080
    -0.150
    -4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.890
    0.260
    9.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    -0.150
    -4.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.280
    0.100
    8.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.000
    -0.210
    -6.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.750
    0.120
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.280
    -0.080
    -2.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    5.000
    4.1%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,124.580
    -525.260
    -4.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    27.850
    -0.080
    -0.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,070.710
    -528.180
    -4.2%
  • TLT.USA
    3.080
    -0.150
    -4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.890
    0.260
    9.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    -0.150
    -4.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.280
    0.100
    8.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.000
    -0.210
    -6.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.750
    0.120
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.280
    -0.080
    -2.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    5.000
    4.1%
Driver issuesLegal issuesLess than TruckloadNewsTrucking

FedEx Freight hit with big jury verdict after dismissing driver with bad knee

FedEx Freight has lost a battle in court over a dismissed driver who had a rebuilt knee with possibly limited motion, with a jury awarding the plaintiff a little more than $6.85 million.

The large award against the LTL division of FedEx comes after a lawsuit that started over a seemingly innocuous event: the decision by the plaintiff in the case, David Goldstine, to not shut a damaged trailer door because of concerns over his knee, which had undergone knee replacement surgery a few years earlier.  

The payout the jury awarded to Goldstine includes $5 million for “malice or reckless indifference to Mr. Goldstine’s rights against discrimination under the Americans with Disabiliites Act.” 

Emotional harm damages were assessed at $1.75 million. Past and future economic losses were assessed at a bit more than $400,000. The total was reduced by $300,000 by the jury’s decision that Goldstine did not “mitigate” his damages.

“While we respect the judicial process, we are disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” FedEx Freight said in a prepared statement. “Mr. Goldstine was removed from driving while his medical restrictions were assessed, but refused to return to work after he was medically cleared. We are considering our legal options including an appeal.” The statement added that the company does not “tolerate discrimination or retaliation.”

The incident that set off the lawsuit and the large damage award began in April 2017, according to the original complaint filed by Goldstine. He had been “dispatched” to deliver a trailer to Portland, Oregon. At that point, he had been working for FedEx Freight since February 2015, was making $25.83 per hour and getting 64.11 cents per mile. He also had been certified to drive by U.S. Healthworks about a month before the incident with the damaged door. 

But before he could start on his trip, “upon inspection of the trailer, [Goldstine] discovered that the door was damaged in such a way that prevented the door from being closed,” the original complaint said. The door had “missing … or misaligned door rollers” and “frayed and tangled” cables. (In its response to the lawsuit, FedEx did not dispute the condition of the trailer.)

“It was dark and raining at the time, so [Goldstine] did not attempt to close the trailer door because he determined that it would be unsafe for him to do so,” the original complaint says.

He contacted a supervisor who tried to close the door; that person also couldn’t shut it. But FedEx policy “states that trailers are not supposed to leave the dock with the door open.” Another supervisor was called in, but he said “it was not his job to close the broken door.”

The next day, another supervisor, Randy Mott, “combatively” came up to Goldstine and wanted to know why the trailer wasn’t delivered to Portland. Goldstine explained about the broken door, the attempt by a supervisor to close it and the refusal to try by yet another supervisor.

According to the initial complaint, that set off friction-filled discussions and communications, aggravated in part by Goldstine’s mention that the “limited range of motion” in his knee “makes it difficult to climb into the trailer.” At one point, according to the lawsuit, Mott told Goldstine that he would “need to find another job.”

Goldstine was decertified, which stopped his authorization to drive FedEx vehicles. He then sought physical recertification from U.S. Healthworks and was granted it, according to the suit. The suit also says on the form to be certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Goldstine did say he had a disability.

By June, Goldstine was gone from the company.

Not surprisingly, the FedEx Freight version of events is considerably different. In a motion for a directed verdict filed before the jury came in with its decision, lawyers for FedEx Freight suggested Goldstine had not disclosed his limited knee motion on his earlier DOT examination to be certified. Goldstine believed the request to be recertified after the trailer door incident was discriminatory on its face, according to the FedEx Freight motion. FedEx Freight also said that a later examination of the knee showed a full range of motion. 

“Clearly, FedEx Freight did nothing more than comply with federally mandated procedures applicable to all its drivers in addressing Goldstine’s circumstances,” the company’s attorneys say in their motion. 

More articles by John Kingston

FedEx Freight settles lawsuit by dismissed transgender driver

FedEx Freight furloughs a small number of workers

Drilling Deep: The LTL model adapts to the COVID-10 world

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

14 Comments

  1. In Ontario Canada a number of people have got hurt or injured while working. These people are living often in homeless shelters in church basements. The Ford gov and the private sector and insurance companies have left Non profit groups to look after these people. The award is way too much. I amd many other people have been living in shelters or on the street for years. I am currently camped out in front of the insurance company head office in Goderich Ont during the day and a local nonprofit organization is putting us up in a church basements on the floor. Note the Ford gov is not giving us proper medical care.

  2. Figures large corp dont give a damn bout thier. Workers
    But the idiots will run an empty trailer 2300 miles cross country thats grounds for dismissal of all management if I was board of directors

  3. I fell the award was fitting & it was offered by a jury during a trial. We all know that David Goldstine will not receive all that $6.85 million verdict. His lawyer gets 1/3 of the pay out, & who knows what is left with medical bills that needs to be paid. I’m sure that FedEx Freight would have preferred to have swept Mr. Goldstine and his wrenched knee under the carpet, but am glad that Mr. Goldstine put up a fight. I do the same work as Mr. Goldstine & have for the past 30 years. I have dealt with equipment malfunctions such as stuck roll-up doors before & know that these doors that are broken can kill you if you don’t watch what you are doing with them. A roll up door cable can snap at any time & slice through the neck artery with out you even knowing it. Boom your dead. The roller misalignment issue is a common occurrence on the roll up doors. This issue needs to be addressed by a certified trailer mechanic, not the truckdriver, supervisor, or dispatcher. All too many times the companies are more than likely to believe that the truckdrivers carry magic wands, to use to cure each and every issue that arises along the way, but when they punish a driver & fire him due to a previously damaged trailer door not wanting to function properly, than “KARMA” takes over. I hope FedEx Freight’s appeal fails as the problem here does not lay with Mr. Goldstine. It lays with the supervisors working at FedEx Freight who think that drivers carry magic wands.

  4. That judgment is HAS TO BE DISMISSED!!! All this is total BS. Golddiggers like this Goldstine (what a coincidence right) must be shut once and forever. He could’ve killed someone innocent on the road if he had a bad knee that could’ve caused a problem while driving. He shouldn’t have been in the truck in the first place. FedEx should appeal that unfair judgment and put that person where he belongs. Taking advantage of big companies has to stop once and forever!

    1. I was hurt in a accident on Jan 1 of 2015 when as Ryder truck hit me from behind when I stopped because a car blocked the road in front of me
      The company I worked that hauls uranium out of saskatoon..still owes me over $3,000 in back wages
      I spent over $5,000 on legal costs
      The insurance company or them did not pay to repair my truck or lost time from work
      The C T A helped them to delay my claim as I ran out of money to fight the insurance company and R S B.

    2. I guess we know who works in management for fedex. This man could possibly handle shifting with his knee or has an automatic ride. Your fast judgement shows no knowledge for this industry whatsoever.

  5. I’m happy for this gentleman, he was able to drive but not responsible for a malfunctioning door. These corporations don’t care about their employees. Sometimes alittle title gives these managers big heads. Plus that attorney will get a nice paycheck.

  6. Whether his bad knee prevented him to close the door or not, two other supervisors above him either tried or refused to close the same door, so in all aspects, the trailer was out of service by DOT rules and their own policies. Blaming the failure to deliver the load on the driver was not his fault; he didn’t put the trailer in the door or load it, the people on the dock including the supervisors did. Why didn’t they cross dock it to new trailer and send him on his way? Stop blaming the drivers for every fault the company did to it’s self.

  7. I was hurt in a accident on Jan 1 of 2015 when as Ryder truck hit me from behind when I stopped because a car blocked the road in front of me
    The company I worked that hauls uranium out of saskatoon..still owes me over $3,000 in back wages
    I spent over $5,000 on legal costs
    The insurance company or them did not pay to repair my truck or lost time from work
    The C T A helped them to delay my claim as I ran out of money to fight the insurance company and R S B.

  8. hahahah FedEx does not retaliate against its drivers. That’s a bold face lie. You call Human Resources on them because of shady acts they pull. H.R will address it with management. Then the management will do everything in their power to get rid of you. Which is a form of discrimination and retaliation. Driver’s have no legal representation whatsoever at FedEx Freight.

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