Utility district faces civil rights lawsuit
In addition to his responsibilities as LMUD’s general manager, Cady is one of the shareholders in Sickles Golf Associates, the company that operates the 18-hole city-owned golf course.
Causes of action listed in the lawsuit include deprivation of procedural due process rights, deprivation of substantive due process rights, conspiracy to deprive due process rights, libel, breach of express and implied contract for continued employment, infliction of emotional distress and interference of contractual rights.
According to the complaint, Trevino has “suffered a loss of earnings, including back pay, employment benefits, seniority, earning capacity and consequential damages in an amount which has yet to be determined with certainty.”
The Trevinos seek general and compensatory damages, special damages, punitive damages, a declaration Trevino’s Constitutional rights have been violated and an injunction preventing defendants from further unconstitutional violations, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and other relief the court deems proper.
LMUD did not return the newspaper’s calls requesting comment on this suit.
Trevino alleges LMUD did not follow its own policies in handling his dismissal and that LMUD “adopted a de facto and unconstitutional policy of violating employees’ Constitutional rights by failing, with deliberate indifference, to enforce its own adopted policies and procedures when it was clearly obvious that said policies were being ignored by its management employees.”
According to the complaint, LMUD policies and procedures allow an employee to be terminated or disciplined only for just cause. Trevino also alleges LMUD did not follow it policies and procedures in regard to a “Skelley hearing” about his possible termination, and alleges LMUD did not provide him with required documents or conduct the process in a timely manner. In addition, he alleges LMUD did not appoint an impartial hearing officer to handle the appeal of his termination.
According to the complaint, the defendants “intentionally, maliciously and wantonly interfered with and delayed this review process for the purpose of causing continuing harm, damage and injury to Steven Trevino and to punish him for challenging the authority of the general manager to terminate his employment.”
Because of the ongoing and extensive delays occasioned by the defendants (except Giannotti), the plaintiffs have been forced to endure ongoing ridicule and scorn from citizens who were aware that Steven Trevino had been terminated from his position.
In addition, Steven Trevino was forced to seek employment in another city and was not with his wife when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
“Because he was forced to reside in another city, Steven Trevino was unable to provide her the care, companionship, support, society, guidance and treatment he would have, but for his unlawful termination,” the lawsuit alleges. “The conduct of the defendants, and each of them, proximately caused a devastating impact upon the plaintiffs’ martial relationship.”
Trevino also alleges the defendants engaged in “an on-going conspiracy” by “fabricating a false and pretextual basis upon which to terminate his employment and by refusing, despite clear and explicit policies and procedures, to provide Steven Trevino with a fair and impartial review of the decision to terminate his employment.”
Claiming he suffered damage to his reputation and suffered humiliation, embarrassment, grief, anxiety and stress because the defendants “have declared, both orally and in writing, that plaintiff Steven Trevino was terminated from his position for willful misconduct in the performance of his duties,” Trevino is suing LMUD for defamation and libel per se.
Amy Trevino alleges she was “deprived of the care, companionship, society and guidance of her husband as such has suffered injury to her martial relationship … ” and seeks damages in excess of $100,000.
The Trevinos seek a jury trial in federal court.
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