Former Self-Storage Manager in Dallas Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against Strategic Capital Holdings

A former manager of Northwest Highway Self-Storage in Dallas filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on Aug. 11 against the facility’s owner, Strategic Capital Holdings LLC, and its human-resources firm, TriNet HR Corp., for wrongful termination. Cynthia Ormiston said her former employer fired her after a work-related injury left her partially disabled and unable to perform her job duties.

A former manager of Northwest Highway Self-Storage in Dallas filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on Aug. 11 against the facility’s owner, Strategic Capital Holdings LLC, and its human-resources firm, TriNet HR Corp., for wrongful termination. Cynthia Ormiston said her former employer fired her after a work-related injury left her partially disabled and unable to perform her job duties.

The lawsuit, filed with the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas, states Ormiston began working as the resident manager at Northwest Highway Self-Storage in 2009. The facility has since been branded as SmartStop Self Storage. In 2010, Strategic Capital hired TriNet HR to manage its staff, and Ormiston continued her employment with the company.

Ormiston injured her shoulder and hand while at work on June 27, 2011, according to the lawsuit. She continued to work until November, then underwent surgery, which was only partially successful. Ormiston was diagnosed as “permanently partially disabled” and unable to lift any significant amount of weight with her right arm, the lawsuit stated.

Although Ormiston continued to be employed as the facility’s resident manager, her medical restrictions included no heavy lifting, typing, operating heavy equipment or extended walking. Ormiston claimed she worked for another three months before her superiors began disregarding the restrictions and her injuries became agitated.

After presenting TriNet with a doctor’s note again explaining her limitations, Ormiston said Dale Bennett, TriNet’s district manager, wouldn’t allow her to return to work, according to the lawsuit. Ormiston claims Bennett said she should ask her doctor to change the restrictions to “cannot return to work,” according to the suit.

Ormiston then spoke with John Carbio, regional manager for Strategic Capital, who said he’d like her to continue working at the facility as the district manager, according to the lawsuit. She was told the promotion would occur in September 2012. However, Ormiston was summoned by TriNet employees on Sept. 7, 2012, and fired due to the inability to “type or lift heavy objects,” the lawsuit stated. Ormiston said the defendants didn’t offer her an alternative position to accommodate her injuries, and she has been unable to find other employment, the lawsuit stated.

Ormiston is suing for actual, exemplary and statutory damages to compensate for lost wages and benefits, inconvenience, pain and suffering. Attorney Nicholas A. O’Kelley of Dallas-based Kilgore & Kilgore is representing her and has demanded a jury trial.  

Strategic Capital Holdings is the sponsor of Strategic Storage Trust Inc., a publicly registered, non-traded real estate investment trust (REIT) that operates self-storage properties, and Strategic Storage Trust II Inc., a non-traded REIT targeting the self-storage market. Strategic Storage Trust II is a related but separate entity from Strategic Storage Trust. Both REITs rebrand their storage acquisitions under the SmartStop Self Storage trade name.

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