Judge Dismisses Suit Against City of Port St. Lucie

case

City of Port Saint Lucie

A St. Lucie County Judge has dismissed a suit against the City of Port St. Lucie filed by former police officer Joseph D’Agostino.

Three years ago, D’Agostino filed a suit against the City of Port St. Lucie, Greg Oravec, as City Manager, Roger Orr, (former City Attorney), Jerry Bentrott, (former City Manager) and Joann Faiella, (former Mayor) seeking damages for wrongful termination, declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, alleging violations of the Florida Sunshine Act, alleging violations of the Florida Whistle-blowers Act, and alleging violations of Florida Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights.

The case was set to go to trial next week, but on Tuesday Judge Janet Croom granted the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the case. The City raised several legal challenges to the complaint. After hearing argument from both parties, the Court agreed with the City’s motion to the claims for wrongful termination of Joe D’Agostino, finding that there was no discrimination nor was there a valid contract of employment between Mr. D’Agostino and the City of Port St. Lucie.

The Court also found that there were no Sunshine violations committed by the City and its’ employees in regards to a 2012 reorganization of the police department. The Court also found that the City did not violate the Whistle-blowers act in that there was no casual connection between the alleged act and the adverse employment action upon which the Plaintiff could seek recovery.

It’s important to note, D’Agostino voluntarily dismissed the last two counts of the complaint in regards to violations of the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights. This latest ruling is consistent with prior rulings in a similar case. Federal Court Judge Martinez had heard and ruled on similar claims by other parties challenging then City Manager Oravec’s authority to reorganize the Police department under provisions of the City Charter. In September 2012, Judge Martinez, dismissed those similar claims as well, finding that the City Manager had the authority to implement the reduction in force pursuant to the Charter.

The Motion was argued by Adam Philpott and Allen Sang who serve as outside counsel to the City of Port St. Lucie.

We have been informed by Plaintiff’s counsel that they will appeal. If they do, it will be in front of the Fourth District Court of Appeals.

TreasureCoast

TreasureCoast

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  • Posted 8 years ago

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