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‘Produce a Corpse’

DENVER (CN) - Before firing him, an employee's boss left "nasty messages" on his phone during his father's funeral, "demanding that (he) produce a corpse," because the boss thought he was out looking for another job, the outraged man claims in court.

Steven Talley, 43, sued Curian Capital in Denver County Court, alleging outrage, age discrimination and tortious interference with contract.

He also sued Mike Garofalo, a manager - though not the one who allegedly demanded a corpse.

Talley describes himself in the lawsuit as "a minority," without elucidation. He worked for Curian as a business consultant from 2009 until he was fired on a pretext in February, according to the complaint.

Talley claims managers falsely accused him of faking his phone records to win a sales competition, then "began to listen in on his calls, wherein they found no fault."

After getting glowing reviews, Talley claims: "On January 4, 2010, plaintiff's father passed away and when plaintiff asked for time off, he was harassed by ... [an external wholesaler] who was leaving nasty messages on plaintiff's phone during his father's funeral and demanding the plaintiff produce a corpse due to the fact that he thought the plaintiff was lying about his father and insisted that he was interviewing at another company."

Talley claims his firing was discriminatory: "Plaintiff was told by executives and directors that he was an 'old man,'" the complaint states.

"Plaintiff has also been told that his 'better days are behind him' and that they hire 'young guns and individuals who will sacrifice all their time.'

"Plaintiff was treated and disciplined differently from younger employees; he was written up for a grammatical error with an internal e-mail sent to another employee of Curian."

He claims he was Curian's "only winner of the Wholesaler of the Year Aware that had not been promoted."

He seeks damages age discrimination, tortious interference with contract and outrageous conduct.

He is represented by John McKendree.

Curian Capital, misspelled in the complaint as Curian Capitol, is a subsidiary of Michigan-based Jackson National Life Insurance Co.

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