ELIZABETH, NJ - City Attorney William Holzapfel has issued a response to the recent New Jersey Superior Court jury award to a former Elizabeth fire inspector who claimed harassment and retaliation on the job.
“The City has appealed the verdicts in this case to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. There were substantial legal errors made during the trial, and I am confident that the verdicts will be reversed and the case sent back to the Law Division for a new trial,” said Holzapfel.
Fred Bonda was awarded $2.1 million in damages after a jury decision. He was awarded an additional $1 million in punitive damages on top of the $750,000 for lost wages and $350,000 for emotional distress he was awarded in January.
In the lawsuit, Bonda said the harassment began after he reported safety violations at city locations.
Previously an Elizabeth firefighter, Bonda claimed he was removed from that position and assigned to fire inspection. The move cost him overtime pay. He also claimed that he was harassed and retaliated against.
Mayor Bollwage declined to comment.