Lawsuit names Donald, city officials
A former city of Donald employee recently filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking more than $500,000 for damages resulting from wrongful termination of his employment.
The plaintiff, Greg Robinson, was employed by the city of Donald as a utility operator, where he began working in June of 2013. He was dismissed Jan. 18.
According to the suit, City Manager Heidi Bell and Public Works Director Alonzo Limones called Robinson into a meeting on Jan. 17 to discuss work-related issues. The next day Bell and Limones called another meeting with Robinson, and they were joined by Mayor Brad Oxenford. Robinson was fired after that meeting.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the suit claims that Robinson's Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated as he did not receive due process prior to being dismissed. Along with the city of Donald, Bell, Limones and Oxenford are all named as defendents.
Robinson maintains that he was blindsided, not given any indication at either meeting that his job was in jeopardy.
The suit states: "At no time prior to the January 18, 2019 meeting was Plaintiff given notice by Defendants that he might be disciplined, terminated or otherwise have his employment adversely affected by the information discussed at the January 18, 2019 meeting. At no time prior to the January 18, 2019 meeting was Plaintiff given by Defendants written notice of what would be discussed at the January 18, 2019 meeting."
The suit was submitted on July 24 by attorneys Kevin T. Lafky and Tonyia J. Brady of Salem firm Lafky & Lafky.
"The short story is if you are a public employee, you have the right of due process in your employment," Lafky said. "If your employer wants to terminate you and discipline you, they must state why and give the employee an opportunity (to remediate).
"In Mr. Robinson's case they just didn't do that."
Bell conveyed via email that "the city has no comment on matters concerning pending litigation."
Robinson seeks $65,000 in economic damages plus $7,500 per month thereafter. He also seeks $500,000 in non-economic damages.
The suit also seeks reinstatement with the city, however Robinson has since taken another job elsewhere.
Lafky said it normally takes a week or two for the defendants to be served following the filing of a suit. Once served, they have 30 days to respond.
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