SCRANTON – A federal judge has dismissed a portion of a Wapwallopen man's lawsuit against Talen Energy Corp. and Susquehanna Nuclear alleging they fired him after he failed a drug and alcohol screening that then prevented him from getting a job elsewhere.
In his 13-page memorandum issued Oct. 11, U.S. District Court Judge James Martin Munley, on the bench in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, dismissed two of four claims in Scott Bennett's lawsuit filed this past March against Talen Energy and Susquehanna Nuclear.
"We will dismiss count III, plaintiff’s wrongful termination claims and count IV, the claim for violation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations," Munley said in his memorandum. "We will, however, retain jurisdiction over this matter."
Munley's memorandum left alive two other counts in Bennett's complaint – intentional interference with prospective contractual relations and defamation.
Bennett was a contractor who worked for the defendants from 1997 through September 2007, after which he was a full-time production foreman for the nuclear power plant, according to the background portion of Munley's memorandum.
Bennett sued his former employers over allegations he was terminated in March 2018 after failing a drug and alcohol screening that also prevented him from getting a job elsewhere.
The defendants allegedly also never allowed Bennett an opportunity to complete an employee assistance program, which had been provided to other employees the first time they failed the drug and alcohol screening, according to Munley's memorandum.
Last January, a nuclear power plant in Michigan offered Bennett a job but rescinded the offer after one of the defendants' employees "told representatives at the facility that plaintiff was 'unfit for duty at a nuclear facility,'" Munley's memorandum said.
Bennett alleges intentional interference with prospective contractual relations, defamation, wrongful termination and violations of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission statutes.
Talen Energy and Susquehanna Nuclear asked that the latter two claims be dismissed.