Former Mono County Deputy Jon Madrid, subject of a highly publicized termination and an arbitration and court hearing which ruled in his favor, has succeeded in keeping Mono County government locked in a federal court fight over his First Amendment rights.
Defendants in Madrid’s US District Court case include Mono County government, former Sheriff Rick Scholl, current Sheriff Ralph Obenberger and former Mono Lieutenant Dave O’Hara. Mono County filed a motion to dismiss the three actions brought by Madrid – one civil rights violation and two whistleblower claims. Chief Judge of US District Court, Morrison England, Jr., denied the County’s motion to dismiss under two causes of action and granted dismissal in one.
The Judge’s decision recites the facts now familiar to Mono County residents – the seven years of Madrid’s outstanding service commended on his record. Then in 2008, Madrid spoke out about what he believed was the mishandling of medications for jail inmates and about a false police report.
The Judge’s decision says O’Hara “issued a written directive to Plaintiff that he not report crimes or emergencies, or personally render assistance to those in need, while off-duty.” The decision says Madrid alleges County employees retaliated against him by denying his advanced P.O.S.T. Certificate and pay increase. Madrid said O’Hara was overheard saying it was his goal to have Madrid terminated.
The Judge’s decision continues to lay out a laundry list of mistreatment, which included, menial tasks for the purpose of humiliating Madrid. That’s the forced sitting in a chair at the Sheriff’s Department all day long. When Madrid won his administrative appeal, the County and Sheriff’s officers claimed Madrid abandoned his job.
As to the Civil Rights violation lodged against Mono County, Madrid contends County government was involved because “the Board of Supervisors of the County delegated to the Sheriff their final policymaking authority ‘for all purposes connected with the management of employment’.” The Judge finds Madrid’s allegations as sufficient to withstand the County’s motion to dismiss under the civil rights law.
On the whistleblower statue, the Judge’s decision explains that an employer “shall not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information.” The Judge says Madrid alleges he was subject to “adverse employment action in the form of persistent harassment, fraudulent misconduct investigations, and termination.”
The Judge refuses to dismiss the whistleblower claim regarding a false police report, but did dismiss the one involving handling of medications because no specific law violation was alleged. However, Madrid’s attorneys have 30 days in which to amend this document. So, Mono County continues as a defendant in the Madrid federal case.
This case will move forward, and still pending is Madrid’s reinstatement as now ordered by an Arbitrator and a Superior Court Judge.