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Demanda Federal Valentin Wipr Torrealba Noticel

Demanda Federal Valentin Wipr Torrealba Noticel

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Published by: noticelmesa on Aug 27, 2012
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12/19/2014

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1
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO
 
JUAN J. VALENTÍN MERLO
PlaintiffsVS.
PUERTO RICO PUBLICBROADCASTING CORPORATION;ISRAEL “RAY” CRUZ
, in his personalcapacity;
PEDRO RÚA JOVET
, in his personal capacity and in his officialcapacity as President of the Puerto RicoPublic Bradcasting Corporation;
INSURANCE COMPANY ABC, JOHNROE AND JANE DOE,
in their individualand official capacitiesCIVIL CASE NO.CIVIL RIGHTS(Trial by jury requested)
COMPLAINT 
TO THE HONORABLE COURT:COMES NOW
plaintiff, through the undersigned legal representation, and veryrespectfully
ALLEGES
and
REQUESTS
as follows:
I.
 
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1.
 
This Honorable Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the instant case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as plaintiff seeksdamages and injunctive relief for violations to his rights under the First and FourteenthAmendments of the United States Constitution. Supplemental jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to28 U.S.C. § 1367 over Puerto Rico law claims that stem from the same facts alleged in thecomplaint. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1931(b), venue lies in this judicial District, because allrelevant facts took place in this jurisdiction and all defendants reside herein.
II.
 
THE PARTIES
Case 3:12-cv-01669 Document 1 Filed 08/15/12 Page 1 of 12
 
22.
 
Plaintiff Juan J. Valentín Merlo (hereinafter referred to as “Vlentín”) worked asMarketing Director for defendant Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Co. (hereinafter referred to as“WIPR”), pursuant to a career appointment, until August 16, 2011. Through letter dated August16, 2011 but served personally upon plaintiff on August 17, 2011, defendants notified Valentínas to the final determination to dismiss him from employment. Prior to that, he had worked for 26 years at WIPR, ascending upon its ranks because of his superior performance and work ethics. During his years of public service, Valentín had never been the object of any disciplinary proceeding, until defendants came into power and engaged in a pattern of political discriminationthat ended in dismissal.3.
 
Defendant WIPR is a public corporation created under and regulated by Law Number 216 of September 12, 1996, as amended (27 P.R. Laws Ann. § 501, et seq). WIPR,although wholly owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, enjoys administrativeindependence from said government and consequently may be independently sued
1
. WIPR  policy is made by its Board of Directors and by its President. It has been held by the First Circuitthat, although WIPR does not generate its own funds, its
 
enabling act does not unequivocallyindicate that the Commonwealth structured WIPR to share its sovereignty, and there is noindication that the Commonwealth has bound itself to pay WIPR's debts. Thus, WIPR is notshielded by immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.4.
 
Defendant Israel “Ray” Cruz (hereinafter “Cruz”) presided over WIPR fromMarch 12, 2009 to December 31, 2011. The President is the corporation’s nominating authorityand his decisions constitute WIPR policy sufficient to impose liability for the corporation.Defendant Cruz is an active member of the NPP, to the point that it was believed by some thathis appointment as President when he did not have a proper academic background for the
1
27 P.R. Laws Ann.
§504(4)
 
Case 3:12-cv-01669 Document 1 Filed 08/15/12 Page 2 of 12
 
3 position was a reward for political favors to NPP Governor Luis Fortuño during the 2008 political campaign.5.
 
Defendant Pedro Rúa Jovet (“Rúa”) came to occupy the position of ExecutiveVice President of WIPR after the 2009 change in governmental administration. During his tenureas Executive Vice President, he was plaintiff Valentín’s direct supervisor. In December 2011,Rúa was appointed by the NPP Fortuño administration to substitute Cruz, and has occupied theWIPR’s presidency since January 1, 2012 to the present. The President is the corporation’snominating authority and his decisions constitute WIPR policy sufficient to impose liability for the corporation. Defendant Rúa is an active member of the NPP.6.
 
Defendant Insurance Company ABC has a policy in favor of the WIPR whichcovers claim contingencies such as that posed by the instant case.7.
 
Defendants John Roe and Jane Doe are persons belonging to the NPPgovernmental administration who had authority to act and intervene in personnel decisionsregarding the plaintiff, and that exercised said authority in a manner specifically directed to punish plaintiff for the exercise of his First Amendment rights.
III.
 
FACTS
8.
 
WIPR is a public corporation and, as such, a public employer. WIPR employeesare considered public employees and the personnel transactions undertaken by said corporationare performed under color of state law.9.
 
Plaintiff Valentín is a known and very active member of the Popular DemocraticParty (“PDP”). Under the Sila Calderón PDP administration that ended in 2004, Valentín was president of the WIPR PDP employees association. Under the Acevedo Vilá PDP administrationthat ended in 2008, Valentín occupied the very sensitive and policy implementation position of 
Case 3:12-cv-01669 Document 1 Filed 08/15/12 Page 3 of 12

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