Lawsuit Claims Connecticut Boss Told Vegas Mass Shooting Survivor to ‘Get Over It’

Apr 2 2019

As it appeared on the Connecticut Law Tribune

A new lawsuit alleges Charles Giampaolo survived the Las Vegas mass shooting in which his father-in-law was killed, but then got no sympathy from his Connecticut employer, who allegedly told him to “suck it up.”

By Robert Storace

A victim of the October 2017 shooting massacre in Las Vegas says he was forced to leave his job after management ridiculed him, told him to “suck it up” and to “get over it” after he informed them he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Torrington Superior Court, Charles Giampaolo alleges he was a top salesman at Elevator Service Co. Inc. until the company made his job unbearable, giving him no choice but to leave on April 11, 2018.

According to the lawsuit, management, including co-owner Steve Roth, accused Giampaolo, whose father-in-law died in the shooting, of being “different” and having a “bad attitude.” The company regularly and arbitrarily cut his commissions, threatened not to pay him commissions it already owed him, and admonished him to move past the shooting, the lawsuit said.
“October has come and gone, and you need to get over it,” the suit quotes Roth as saying.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages for what it alleges occurred at the Torrington-based company that sells, services and maintains residential and commercial elevators. The lawsuit also alleges a hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act.

Roth, who owns the company with his wife Linda, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday. And his attorney, Tara Shaw of Secor Cassidy & McPartland, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Giampaolo, 36, attended the annual Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on October 2017 with several family members. His father-in-law, Kurt Von Tillow, was among the 58 people killed after a gunman opened fire. Giampaolo’s wife’s aunt and cousin were also shot, but Giampaolo and his wife escaped injury. He was inches away from his father-in-law when the older man was killed, according to the lawsuit.

The following month, Giampaolo attended a work event with nearly 800 people and experienced a panic attack, according to the lawsuit.

There was loud music and strobe lights and “his palms sweated, his heart rate escalated, and he felt as if the walls were closing in on him,” the lawsuit said. Giampaolo told the Roths, who both were at the event, that he was diagnosed with PTSD and was a experiencing a panic attack and then ran for the door.

“After he shared his diagnosis with leadership, ESCO began a campaign to force him out of the company,” according to the lawsuit.

That alleged campaign was nonstop, according to the lawsuit and his attorneys.

“He was accused of having a bad attitude. He was told consistently that he had changed,” said Amanda DeMatteis, Giampaolo’s co-counsel who works for Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti. “Even after the horrible comment to ‘get over it,’ he continued to go to work everyday and performed very well.”

DeMatteis said that on April 10, 2018, the day before he parted ways with the company, Giampaolo’s commission was reduced arbitrarily. “He complained to Mr. Roth about the company’s conduct toward him since disclosing the PTSD diagnosis. The very next day he was demoted, stripped of his managerial bonus and the owners accused him of having a personality disorder. The day they demoted him, it was apparent they’d continue the conduct, so he separated from the company.”

The lawsuit contains an email Giampaolo sent to Steve Roth. It reads, “Your lack of empathy for me and my family has been noted. Never once have you asked how I am. How am I doing, or have just pulled me off to the side and asked if I needed to talk. Instead, you attack me where it hurts the most: my pockets.”

DeMatteis said her client has since found work in another sales position within the state. “He has had very intensive therapy since the shooting,” she said.

“It has been very up and down for Charles,” DeMatteis said. “He has been through unimaginable carnage in Las Vegas and tried to come back and find that sense of normalcy in his life, only to have it taken from him. It was traumatic in a different way, but it was still traumatic.”

Assisting DeMatteis was co-counsel Nina Pirrotti.

Share this Post

Garrison, Levin-Epstein Receives “Best Law Firms” Honors from U.S. News & World Report for 2019

You deserve justice. We are here to fight for you.

Let Us Review Your Case

We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Client Experiences

During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

Ethan Levin-Epstein represented me during a most painful and challenging crisis in my personal and professional life. Seeing me within 24 hours of being referred, his support and advocacy, wisdom and clarity not only resulted in a favorable negotiated outcome for me and for my family, but gave me peace of mind and the courage to recover. I am very grateful to have met Ethan and his team and would refer anyone in need to this haven. — C.L., Guilford, CT

You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
Back to Top