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Eight Years Later, Neck and Back Injury Compensation

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Yakima, WAIt took eight long years to get even this far, but a Washington state woman has finally won some back and neck injury compensation from her former employer. In this case, the injuries the plaintiff suffered were not job-related. However, her physical incapacitations resulted in the loss of her job, for allegedly discriminatory reasons.

Shannon Sharp, the plaintiff, was an employee of Planned Parenthood of Central Washington. Working as a regional manager, there were no blemishes on her job record until a diagnosis of degenerative arthritis in her neck and back—resulting in back and neck injury—forced her into ongoing medical treatment. The pain, according to the Tri-City Herald (7/12/12), left Sharp unable to perform, on occasion, all of her job functions.

Sharp was subsequently fired from her job allegedly, according to the back injury compensation claim, for reasons of discrimination.

The defendant countered that Sharp was fired due to issues with her performance. However, the plaintiff's lawsuit reiterated that Sharp had never been subject to an independent investigation over her back and neck issues, and had never received a negative performance evaluation or reprimand prior to the onset of her health issues.

Together with a neck injury attorney, Sharp filed suit against what is now known as Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, in 2004. Various anti-discrimination laws that were in a state of flux due to various court cases and legislative maneuvering delayed the start of Sharp's trial for several years. Thus, as back injury lawsuits go, this was a long one.

In the end, the case finally went to trial in June and on the 27th of last month a jury awarded the plaintiff the sum of $136,000. The case, however, is not over yet, according to the Tri-City Herald. Additional neck injury compensation is being sought before a Superior Court judge in Benton County.

In a statement, the back injury compensation claim defendant had this to say:

"In our view, we followed all laws and professional protocols when we terminated her employment due to performance; however, recently a court agreed that the former employee's claims had some merit," Planned Parenthood officials said in a statement. "While we believe we followed all laws, we respect the court process, and we are grateful this legal process has concluded so that we can continue to focus on patient care."

A back and neck injury can be debilitating through no fault of the patient.


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