Pagan-Colon v. Walgreens of San Patricio, Inc., No. 11-1089 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Employee was terminated from his job at a Walgreens store in Puerto Rico after a two-week absence from his job due to a medical condition. Following his termination, Employee and his wife (Wife) sued Walgreens, alleging that Employee was fired in retaliation for conduct protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that his termination was wrongful under Puerto Rico law, and that the loss of Employee's job caused Wife to suffer compensable emotional distress. The district court granted summary judgment for Walgreens on Wife's claim and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the other Puerto Rico law claim. The FMLA claim went to trial, and a jury found in Employee's favor, awarding compensatory damages. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court in all respects, save its rejection of Wife's Puerto Rico law claim. Because the claim presented an important and unresolved issue of Puerto Rico law that the Court declined to address in the first instance, the Court certified the question to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and reserved judgment on this particular issue pending its response.