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Flagship company settles employee age discrimination claim

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The one-time Director of Fleet Maintenance for the Winnipesaukee Flagship Corporation has settled his age discrimination claim against his former employer.

In April 2015, Frederick Nashawaty of Bristol filed suit in U.S. District Court asserting that under the Age Discrimination Employment Act adopted in 1967, he was entitled to twice his back pay, because he was pressured to retire after the WFC reassigned many of his duties to a younger man.

Attorney Joe Driscoll of Laconia, who represents WFC, confirmed the case had been resolved, but declined further comment. Nashawaty's attorney, Leslie Johnson of Sandwich, was similarly closed-mouthed, parroting Driscoll's statement that the matter has been resolved.

In May, the WFC moved for summary judgment, contending that Nashawaty could not prove constructive discharge because he continued to receive his salary, and his complaints were ego issues rather than actionable
discrimination.

In August, Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr., denied WFC's motion concluding that enough facts about the case remained in dispute that awarding judgment to the defendant solely on points of law was not
appropriate.

Just days before the trial was to start, the judge allowed Nashawaty to file an additional memorandum on the issue of providing evidence to support a front pay damages award without expert testimony.

Front pay is money awarded for lost wages during the time between judgment and reinstatement, or if reinstatement is not feasible, instead of reinstatement. Similar to back pay, it is essentially the equivalent of lost earnings.

Johnson also moved to supplement that memorandum with an expert report and disclosed two expert witnesses, suggesting that they might be called to testify at trial.

Earlier, Driscoll had moved to bar Johnson from showing the jury a chart outlining the damages she argued her client had suffered, and to exclude Johnson from making any mention of future pay damages.

Among the potential remedies Nashawaty had initially sought was reinstatement to his old position. During a recent hearing, counsel agreed that reinstatement was not available, and that future pay was the appropriate remedy.

Nashawaty sought front pay from the date of judgment until 2029, a 13-year span. He planned to testify that he had intended to work into his seventies, as well as detail the salary and benefits he would have received had he continued with WFC.

Driscoll argued that Nashawaty failed to address his duty to mitigate damages, lacked evidence to support his claim for front pay, and asked the court to exclude testimony by the plaintiff's experts as the defense had no notice until the eve of trial.

The judge held that Nashawaty's proffer of the evidence he would provide to support his claim for front pay damages was sufficient to advance to trial. The burden was on WFC to prove to the jury that Nashawaty, who represented that he has made every effort to find a new job, had not mitigated his damages.

The judge ruled that Nashawaty would be allowed to present his claim for front pay damages to the jury for an advisory verdict. If the jury found in favor of Nashawaty on the age discrimination claim, the jurors would then be asked to provide an advisory verdict of how many years the plaintiff would have continued to work at WFC, if any, and the amount of front pay damages, if any.

The court however, said it would make the final decision on whether damages would be awarded and the amount, after considering the jury's advisory verdict and after the parties had the opportunity to be heard on the front pay issue.

If front pay damages were to be awarded, the judge said, he would reduce them to present-day value.

The parties notified the court that a settlement had been reached on Oct. 28, the same day Judge DiClerico made his ruling.

An agreement for entry of judgment or a stipulation of dismissal must be filed with the court by Dec. 1, or the case will be dismissed with prejudice – which means it cannot be refiled.

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Tilton man pleads guilty to arson in Belmont case

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — A 26-year-old Tilton man admitted to lobbing a Molotov cocktail beneath a car in Belmont as a result of a domestic dispute.

Shawn McKenney pleaded guilty to a felony charge for making the homemade firebomb as well as misdemeanor arson, for using it, in connection with the Feb. 22 incident that damaged a blue 2000 Toyota Corolla at 38 Concord St. in Belmont.

Under the terms of a plea agreement averting a trial, the state agreed to drop an alternate count of felony arson and misdemeanor criminal mischief. The prosecutor also dismissed a breach of bail charge alleging that McKenney had contact with his girlfriend on Sept. 28, in violation of the conditions of his release set by a Superior Court judge on July 7.

His girlfriend subsequently filed a motion with the court asking that the domestic violence order between the parties be vacated, writing that she no longer feared McKenney, and wished to resume living with him.

On the use of a Molotov cocktail charge, he was sentenced to 2.5 to 5 years in prison, suspended on the condition of good behavior for five years. If imposed, it is to be served consecutive to the sentence on the misdemeanor arson charge. As an additional condition of his sentence, the defendant must tour the New Hampshire State Prison.

On Nov. 8, Judge James D. O'Neill III sentenced McKenney to 12 months in jail on the arson charge and credited him with serving 11 days of pretrial confinement. Within 60 days of his release he was ordered to complete an anger management evaluation, and all follow up recommendations are to become specific rules of one years' probation.

Belmont firefighters were able to save the car from complete destruction due to a quick response and the crime scene being less than a mile from their station.

Assistant Belknap County Attorney Adam Woods prosecuted the case. Public Defender Amy Ashworth represented McKenney.

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Group tries to exert peer pressure to vote

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Despite the high turnout for the presidential election, there are those going to great lengths in an effort to drive delinquents to the polls.

A Belmont couple was among those to find an envelope in their mail bearing an arrow, in bold type and red ink, pointing to a notice reading "Important Taxpayer Information Enclosed." Inside was a letter, opening with the wife's first name, that began "What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?"

After expressing concern that "so many people fail to vote," the letter went on to say that it was also being sent to your friends, neighbors, workmates and community members "to publicize who does and does not vote." Below a chart listing their name and address along with those of of nine of their neighbors, indicated whether or not they had voted in the general election in 2012 and the primary and general elections in 2014. After the presidential election, the letter closed, we intend to mail an updated chart so "you and your friends, your neighbors, and other people you know will all know who voted and who did not vote."

The letter bore a seal featuring an eagle dropping a ballot in a ballot box ringed by "New Hampshire State Voter Program," which was identified as a project of the "Sensible Solutions Coalition." The Sensible Solutions Coalition has an address of 373 South Willow St., Suite 446, in Manchester, but lists no telephone. The New Hampshire State Voter Program has a website, nhvote2016.org, but it has been taken down.

The Belmont couple was not the first to be troubled by this effort to apply peer pressure to those who choose not to vote. After the New Hampshire Presidential Primary in February complaints were lodged about the mailings with the New Hampshire Attorney General. Records of who voted, but not how they voted, are open to the public and no action was taken.

"I don't think people should be shamed into voting," said the lady from Belmont, who was not pleased to have her name and address bandied about to strangers. "What if I had a psychotic ex-boyfriend looking for me?" she asked, smiling, to her husband.

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