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DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS
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DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS
PLAINTIFF'S ORIGINAL PETITION
TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT: COMES NOW, Lester Smith, Plaintiff, who files this Original Petition
against DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS for retaliation against him in violation of Section 554.001 et seq. of the Texas Government Code, commonly known as the Texas Whistleblower Act and would respectfully show the Court the following:
INTRODUCTION AND VENUE
Plaintiff, LESTER SMITH, is an individual residing in Dallas County, Texas. Plaintiff was employed as a deputy constable by the Defendant, Dallas County, Texas in the Dallas County Constable's Office, Precinct 1. Defendant, DALLAS COUNlY, TEXAS, is a local governmental entity, a corporate and political body, and service may be had upon said Defendant by serving Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge, 411 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas 75202. Venue of this Court is proper pursuant to Section 15.002 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This is a Level 2 case as set forth in Rule 190.3 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
GENERAL FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS Plaintiff was employed by Dallas County, Texas as a Deputy Constable for the Dallas County Constable's Office, Precinct 1. Plaintiff continued his employment as a Deputy Constable until he was notified of his termination by letter from (then) Constable Derick Evans on about April 27, 2012 stating that the Constable no longer had full faith and confidence in Plaintiff's ability to perform his duties as a deputy constable for Constable Office, Precinct 1. On May 3, 2012, Plaintiff timely filed his Grievance/Appeal with Dallas County Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans and provided a copy to Dallas County Human Resources/Civil Service Director Mattye Mauldin-Taylor. Within the Grievance/Appeal, Plaintiff contended that the Dallas County Constable Office, Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans"has improperly applied rules, regulations, and procedures of the County; has subjected the grievant to unfair treatment to include coercion, restraint and/or reprisal; has taken disciplinary action against him without proper cause; has subjected the grievant to an improper application of fringe benefits or improper working conditions; and has subjected the grievant to dismissal." Within the Grievance/Appeal, Plaintiff further included the contention that the act of terminating him was in violation of the Texas Whistleblower statute. Plaintiff had made a good faith report of criminal misconduct by Constable Derick Evansand other Precinct 1 Constable'sOffice employees.
Within the Grievance/Appeal letter, Plaintiff sought remedies requesting that the disciplinary action (dismissal/termination) be overturned or modified, that he receive all back pay and benefits, that his personnel record(s) be cleared or amended for all purposes and that he be not subjected to further retaliation and adverse personnel actions. Plaintiff made multiple good faith reports of criminal misconduct by Dallas County Constable Derick Evans and other Precinct 1 Constable's Office employees. The good faith reports of criminal misconduct were made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. Plaintiff's good-faith report included Improper Influence, Acceptance of
Honorarium, violations of civil rights, and Interference with Public Duties. As a result of these reports and other reports, Dallas County continued investigating the actions of Constable Evans and concluded with the indictment, prosecution and guilty finding by a Dallas County jury. On or about May 15, 2012, Plaintiff received a certified letter from Human Resources Director Mattye Mauldin-Taylor via his attorney Lance F. Wyatt that Dallas County was denying Plaintiff any grievance/appeal of his
termination/dismissal. Plaintiff contends that the action of Constable Derick Evans to terminate his employment from the Dallas County Constable'sOffice, Precinct 1 on April 27, 2012 resulted from his good-faith report of a violation(s) of criminal misconduct by Constable Derick Evans and/or other supervisory personnel of Constable's
Office, Precinct 1. Plaintiff had made verbal and written requests for protection from retaliation to Defendant Dallas County, Texas and their agents including to Human ResourcesDirector, Dr. Mattye Mauldin-Taylor.
WHISTLEBLOWER ACT· VIOLATION TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 554.001 et seq.
1. Plaintiff hereby re-alleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs I and
II, in their entirety. 2. Plaintiff had a good-faith belief that the actions by Constable Derick Evans and other supervisory personnel of the Dallas County Constable's Office Precinct 1 violated provisions of the Texas Penal Code. 3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office were the appropriate law enforcement authorities to whom the Plaintiff could report these violations of state law since the Federal Bureau of Investigation has criminal investigatory power and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office has investigatory and prosecutorial responsibility. 4. Dallas County, Texas, a local governmental entity, has taken an adverse personnel action against the Plaintiff, to wit: terminating his employment as a Deputy Constable, in violation of Section 554.002 (a) of the Texas Whistleblower Act. 5. Plaintiff contends that his report to the Dallas County District Attomey's Office, and in the alternative, his report to the Federal Bureau of
was a substantial and/or motivating factor for Defendant's Defendant had no other legitimate reason to
unlawful action cited herein.
justify the adverse personnel action taken against the Plaintiff. 6. As a result of the termination, Plaintiff Lester Smith, by and through his
attorney, made a timely appeal of his termination on May 3, 2012.
Not only has the Plaintiff's professional career been irreversibly damaged due to the Defendant's unlawful conduct, he has suffered physical and emotional damage, mental pain, suffering and anguish. The Plaintiff has also suffered a loss of earning capacity in the future as a result of having an adverse action taken against him. All the damages sustained to date, as well as future damages, exceed the minimum jurisdictional limits of this court.
Plaintiff seeks reasonable attorney's
fees as provided for in section
554.003 (a) (4) of the Texas Government Code.
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff relief: requests the following
position) be overturned; 2. Plaintiff requests that he be reinstated to his previous rank of deputy constable with the Dallas County Constable'sOffice Precinct 1; 3. Plaintiff requests that Dallas County, Texas be prohibited from requiring any additional mandates prior to his reinstatement to Deputy Constable since he was terminated; 4. Actual compensatory damages for future pecuniary losses, as well as past and future non- pecuniary losses, in the amount in excess of minimum jurisdictional limits of the Court; S. Reasonableattorney's fees and court costs; 6. Compensation for lost wages during the period of termination; 7. Reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights lost because of the termination; and 8. Other and further to which he may show to be justly entitled. Respectfully submitted,
CE F. WYATT
te Bar No. 24013786 141 Countryside Court, Suite 150 Southlake, Texas 76092 (817) 251-9220 - Phone (817) 251-9923 - Fax
ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF