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Case 44: Gary Trepanier v. National Amusements, Inc.

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Plaintiff Gary Trepanier was awarded $3 Million by a majority female jury for reverse gender discrimination by National Amusements, Inc.

The case was tried under Michigan's Whistleblower Protection Act

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1. Introduction and Overview
Web Posted July 22, 2005

Gary Trepanier v. National Amusements, Inc.
Genesee Circuit Court Case No. 98-64002-CL
Honorable Archie L. Hayman presiding

          Gary Trepanier was employed as a Theater manager by National Amusements, Inc. for 16 years prior to his unjustified firing on September 21, 2000. 

          Mr. Trepanier, a white male, was 46 years old at the time of his firing.

          Gary's last employee evaluation at National Amusements [See: Evaluation] was made within a year of his firing, and all of the grades on his evaluation are "good", "superior", or "outstanding".

          In addition, Mr. Trepanier received over 25 evaluations during his career at National Amusements -- and every single one of the evaluations was "good" to "outstanding".

Trepanier v. National Amusements Index

          Evidence presented at trial, and the decision of the largely female jury, proved that Gary Trepanier was illegally fired because he obtained a personal protective order against a female co-worker who was stalking and threatening him and his fiancée.

          Gary Trepanier was the Theater Manager of the Showcase Cinema Theatre located in Flint, Michigan.  The Showcase Cinema Theatres are owned by National Amusements, Inc. which is a subsidiary of Viacom Corporation.

          Mr. Trepanier, a single man, had been dating female concession worker Coreen Heathcoat.

          On August 25, 1998, Ms. Heathcoat, while intoxicated, telephoned Mr. Trepanier's residence over 30 times.  During these calls Ms. Heathcoat repeatedly made violent threats against Mr. Trepanier and, in fact, threatened to show up at Mr. Trepanier's house and burn it down!  The jilted Ms. Heathcoat also threatened bodily harm to Gary's fiancée, Linda.

Flint, MichiganFlint is located in the center of Genesee County, Michigan

          The day after Ms. Heathcoat's outrageous telephone calls, Gary Trepanier obtained a Personal Protection Order (PPO) from Genesee County Circuit Court.  This Order [See: Protection Order] prohibited Ms. Coreen Heathcoat from stalking Mr. Trepanier.

          Subsequently, Trepanier's fiancée, Linda, complained to a senior vice president at the company that Trepanier was being subjected to a hostile work environment and that it was increasingly difficult for Gary to work in the same environment with the ex-girlfriend.

          National Amusements then sent Gary home and ordered him to have no contact with the theatre "so the company could conduct an investigation."  The investigator was Cindy Montgomery, National Amusement's Regional Manager.

          In apparent frustration over his circumstances, Trepanier went to Ms. Heathcoat's residence to confront her.  He did not go to the theatre which would have been a violation of the company's order to stay away from the workplace.

          Using twisted logic, company investigator Montgomery seized upon this as a "violation of the company's order to stay away from the theatre" and Gary was summarily fired.  Also cited as justification for firing Trepanier were the negative effects his problems with the jilted Ms. Heathcoat were having on the theatre's business.

          Ex-girlfriend Heathcoat was not fired or disciplined in any way.  Evidence and testimony presented at trial unambiguously showed that Mr. Gary Trepanier was the victim of Ms. Coreen Heathcoat's terrifying phone calls.  But National Amusements' investigator, Cindy Montgomery, blamed Mr. Trepanier for the incident!

          At trial, Mr. Trepanier testified that National's investigator, Cindy Montgomery, became extremely hostile and accusatory toward Gary when she learned that he had filed for a Personal Protective Order (PPO) against Ms. Heathcoat.  Investigator Montgomery appeared to favor perpetrator Heathcoat in every way during her investigation.

          After concluding the investigation, and in a shocking act of injustice, National Amusements, Inc.'s investigator, Cindy Montgomery, fired Gary Trepanier.  One of the stated reasons for the firing was Mr. Trepanier's whistle-blowing, in the sense that Mr. Trepanier obtained a Personal Protective Order against Coreen Heathcoat.

          In an Opinion published at Trepanier v National Amusements, 250 Mich App 578 (2002), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that Gary Trepanier's filing for the Personal Protective Order was protected activity under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act.  The case was tried to a jury in Genesee County Circuit Court in April of 2004.

SIDE BAR:
According to our sources, neither Ms. Montgomery nor Ms. Heathcoat ever suffered any consequences for their role in Gary Trepanier's wrongful termination.

Heathcoat was not punished in any way for the drunken, threatening phone calls to Gary Trepanier.   She continued working at Showcase Cinema until she resigned for unrelated reasons months after Mr. Trepanier's firing.

Ms. Cindy Montgomery remains employed at National Amusements.  She has status and power in the company AND, according to our sources, nobody at National Amusements ever faulted her in any way for her role in Gary's firing.

          On April 4, 2004, the jury rendered a verdict of $3,073,500.00 in favor of Gary Trepanier.  See the Trepanier Verdict Form and Judgment, attached.  [Links: Verdict and Judgment]

          Although Trepanier was nominally a Whistleblowers' Protection Act case, the case definitely had trappings of reverse gender discrimination.  A hostile and aggressive female Regional Director -- Cindy Montgomery -- totally favored the female stalker, Coreen Heathcoat, over the male victim, Gary Trepanier.   Heathcoat was favored despite the fact that she had made numerous telephone calls threatening violence against Gary Trepanier.

          All too often, in the politically-correct employment world of today, women are favored over men.  This is what occurred in the Trepanier case.  But Gary Trepanier was vindicated by the jury.  Trepanier's $3,073,500 verdict was the largest whistleblower verdict ever rendered in the state of Michigan.

          Subsequently, the Trepanier case was settled for a confidential amount on Appeal, and is thus now concluded.

          It is interesting to note that seven (7) of the eight (8) jurors in Trepanier were female.  This demonstrates that many American women do not relate to the type of radical, anti-male feminism exhibited by elitist women in powerful positions.  The jurors believed that National's investigator, Cindy Montgomery, behaved extremely unreasonably toward Gary Trepanier.  The Trepanier jury's verdict represents yet another blow against politically-correct reverse discrimination whether it is based upon race, gender or ethnicity.

          The name of Gary Trepanier should be remembered by anti-reverse discrimination activists as a male who fought against corporate, anti-male feminism and won!

-- by Tim Fay, Editor.  This case write up is based upon interviews and correspondence with sources having direct knowledge of the Trepanier case.


Lawyer for the Plaintiff

          Attorney Glen N. Lenhoff litigated this case on behalf of Gary Trepanier.  As a result of Attorney Lenhoff's efforts, the mostly female jury ruled in favor of Mr. Trepanier to the tune of $3 Million!

Attorney Contact Info:
Updated 07-22-05

Glen N. Lenhoff
328 Saginaw Street
8th Floor, North Building
Flint, Michigan  48502

          Phone: (810) 235-5660
          Fax: (810) 235-5641
          Email: Lenhofflaw@usol.com


END Case 44 (part 1 of 5):
Introduction and Overview in Trepanier v. National Amusements

 

READ MORE:
Trepanier v. National Amusements
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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.