A St. Louis jury has awarded $7 million to an administrative law judge who claimed in a lawsuit that he was fired because of his progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disorder.

A St. Louis jury has awarded $7 million to an administrative law judge who claimed in a lawsuit that he was fired because of his progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disorder.
The jurors sided with 55-year-old Matthew Vacca on Sept. 25 after a nearly two-week trial, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1LYEhSa ) reported. The verdict included $4 million in actual damages and $3 million in punitive ones.
The lawsuit was against the Workers' Compensation Division of the Missouri Division of Labor and Industrial Relations, Judge Karla Boresi and the division director, Brian May.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, which represented the state, declined to publicly discuss the verdict.
A St. Louis judge will decide Oct. 9 what the department should pay for Vacca's attorneys' fees and costs, and that judge also could give Vacca his job back, said Joan Schwartz, one of Vacca's lawyers.
Vacca "felt vindicated," Schwartz told the newspaper Friday. "He felt like he was heard and somebody listened to him and believed him."
Schwartz said the verdict was unanimous, even though only nine of the 12 jurors had to agree on a verdict.
Vacca, who was hired as a judge in 1992, later developed a "very difficult form of muscular dystrophy and was given the division's blessings in 2007 to be allowed to park closer to the office. In 2008, he fell in the bathroom because of improperly installed grab bars and was allowed to conduct trials for two days a week and work from home three days a week.
Vacca's lawsuit alleged that when Boresi became chief judge and May became division director, they targeted the accommodations.
On June 7, 2011, May said Vacca effectively had resigned, court records alleged, and May claimed Vacca no longer could meet the requirements for a judge.
"Work was what he had," Schwartz said. "He's not going to be able to travel extensively or take up golf."