Nebraska truck firm ordered to pay trucker's widow $2 million

| 8/21/2002

A Nebraska-based trucking firm has been ordered to pay an employee $2.176 million in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Paula J. Breedlove sued Transwood of Omaha, NE, on behalf of her late husband, Billy Breedlove, a trucker who worked out of the company's Pryor, OK, terminal.

Paula Breedlove works for the firm as an office assistant and part-time driver. She alleged the company fired her husband because he filed for workers' compensation in 1997.

She said the company then "engaged in other activities designed to destroy (his) professional reputation and make it impossible for him to work as a truckdriver."

Steven Holden, an attorney representing Paula Breedlove, said Billy Breedlove wasn't perfect and "was known to have a few beers when he wasn't on the road," but he "never had an alcohol-related accident or failed a DOT alcohol screening."

"Innuendo is a vicious and dangerous tool, and Transwood used that information as a means of character assassination of the deceased," Holden said.

Billy Breedlove worked at odd jobs earning $3,000 to $4,000 before dying of cancer.

"Billy was a very good driver, but they set out to make an example of him," Paula Breedlove said in a news release. "They made it impossible for him to work at his trade."