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Court orders Baltimore County to pay $400K to former employee

An appeals court has reaffirmed a ruling that Baltimore County government must pay $400,000 to a former employee who claimed he was fired in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Larry R. Bingman had worked as a laborer with the county’s Department of Highways for more than three years when he sprained his back while shoveling asphalt in January 2010.

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In his original lawsuit filed in 2013, Bingman said the county sent him to a Concentra medical clinic, where he was told not to work. He returned to the job a few weeks later “in a full duty status as authorized by his doctor,” according to his lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged that a follow-up exam ordered by the county resulted in a doctor’s finding Bingman had other health problems. Bingman said he was “involuntarily terminated” from his job later in 2010, even though he said he was still physically able to work, according to the suit.

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Baltimore County must pay more than $780,000 to a former longtime county sanitarian who said she was forced into retirement when supervisors refused to accommodate her disability, a federal jury decided.

“Although Plaintiff did not consider himself disabled, Defendant did consider him disabled,” Bingman’s lawsuit stated. The suit also alleged that the county did not consider making any accommodation for Bingman, which would be required under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In July 2016, a federal jury awarded Bingman $400,000 in damages.

The county appealed, saying the court refused to allow it to present evidence that Bingman collected Social Security disability benefits, and that the court awarded damages inconsistent with the evidence.

Judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals did not agree with the county, and in an order that went into effect this week, they said the county must pay Bingman the $400,000.

Michael Field, the county attorney, said the county is not considering any further appeals in the case, but declined to discuss the ruling. Bingman’s attorney, Francis J. Collins of Baltimore, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Another Baltimore County employee has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was illegally forced out of his job for medical reasons.

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