Worker claims employer took his pain meds then fired him

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 16, 2010

GALVESTON – Alleging he was fired from his job because he told healthcare providers about the circumstances surrounding his on-the-job injuries, James Williams has filed suit against his employer.

Williams' suit against Steven Spears, doing business as Spears Air Conditioning & Heating, claims Spears took the plaintiff's prescriptions on the guise he would have them filled but then terminated him shortly afterwards.

The alleged dismissal occurred after the defendant demanded information on Williams' conversations with medical personnel who treated the plaintiff after he hurt himself trying to flee a ruptured hose.

The original complaint was filed Aug. 9 in Galveston County District Court.

According to court papers, Williams sustained severe second degree burns to both hands on the night of May 21 when the hose with which he was using to charge freon burst.

The plaintiff attempted to escape the freon blast, but fell over some objects and injured his lower back and legs, the suit says.

Williams insists he was in excruciating pain, and both his on-site supervisor and Spears denied him access to medical treatment.

"The defendant told the plaintiff that all his technicians get burned by freon and that the plaintiff should go home and rest and take a few days off of work and that he would be fine," the suit says.

It is reported that the plaintiff eventually sought assistance from the Bacliff Volunteer Fire Department and the Texas City Fire Department.

He was taken to Mainland Medical Center where a physician put him on Silvadene cream, Keflex capsules and Norco tablets. Norco is a pain medication containing hyrdocodone.

Spears learned about Williams's trip to the hospital and then paid a visit to the plaintiff.

The suit says the defendant offered to pay for Williams's prescriptions, but never did so.

"When the defendant did not return with the prescription medicines, the plaintiff called the defendant and asked about his prescription medicines, at which time the defendant told plaintiff, 'You don't need any medicine and, as a matter of fact, I don't need you; you're fired," it explains.

Consequently, Williams seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Depew Law Firm P.C. is representing the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor.

Case No. 10-cv-2233

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