RECEVED

FE3 C) 62013
WHATCOM COUNTY

CuIJNCIL

TORT CLAIM AGAINST WHATCOM COUNTY PURSUANT TO RCW 4.96.020 and WHATCOM COUNTY CODE 3.05.010

A.

CLAIMANT:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The claimant is Paul Murphy a resident of Whatcom County. The claimant’s residence at the time of presenting and filing this claim is Washington State. The claimant’s residence for the period of six months immediately prior to the time that the claim arose was Washington State. The claimant’s telephone number is not to be published. The claimant can be reached through his attorney Robert D. Butler at (360)734-3448; Law Offices of Robert D. Butler 103 E. Holly # 512, Bellingham, WA 98225.

B.

DESCRIPTION OF THE CLAIM: Claimant intends to bring claims including but not limited to, wrongful termination, violation of first and fourteenth amendment rights to free speech, violation of due process.

C.

DESCRIPTION OF CONDUCT AND CIRCUMSTANCES:

Please see the attached complaint.
D. DESCRIPTION OF THE INJURY OR DAMAGES:

Claimant suffered damages including: Loss of income; loss of status; and emotional distress injury.

E.

TIME AND PLACE OF INJURY OR DAMAGE:

The events involved in this claim began in Whatcom County, Washington in 2011 and the damage continues.
F. IDENTIFICATION OF PERSONS INVOLVED:

1. 2. 3.
PAUL MURPHY PAGE 1 OF 3 TORT CLAIM

Bill Elfo Steve Cooley Perry Rice

122E2542

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Jeff Parks Steve Harris Erik Francis Todd Walker Steve Roff Alan Smith Bob Taylor Jason Nyhus Kevin Hester Magnus Gervol Steven Dills Mark Polhamus Dave McEachran Dan Gibson Art Edge Larry Flynn

G.

AMOUNT OF DAMAGES CLAIMED: Claimant believes that the amount of damages sustained and claimed is in excess of $250,000.00. Claimant is also seeking reinstatement.

Dated and signed in Bellingham Washington this

February, 2013

RobertDThutler, WSBA #22475 Emily C. Beschen, WSBA # 43813 Law Offices of Robert D. Butler 103 E. Holly# 512 Bellingharn, WA 98225 360-734-3448 Attorney for Claimant: Paul Murphy

PAUL MURPHY PAGE 2 OF 3 TORT CLAIM

122E2542

VERIFICATION Paul Murphy, on oath, says: I am the claimant in this matter. I have read the forgoing Tort Claim, know the contents and believe the contents to be true.

DATED this

dayof

J3/ü”4,t4”
I!
URPHY, Clal, ant

2013

1 P L

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN BEFORE ME THIS 2013.

4
/

DAY OF )GJ9JJJQA(

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‘OTARY PUB1JC in ar for t State of Washington, residing in :).Q (LAA My commis’lon expPres: /y

IA

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PAUL MURPHY PAGE 3 OF 3 TORT CLAIM

122E2542

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON Seattle Division PAUL MURPHY, together with his marital community. Plaintiff, vs. Whatcom County; Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department; Bill Elfo; Defendant I.

) ) ) ) ) ) )

Case No.:

COMPLAINT

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

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COMPLAINT

The Plaintiff, Paul Murphy, by counsel, for his Complaint against Whatcom County,
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Whatcom County Sheriff Department and Sheriff Bill Elfo, states and alleges as follows:

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II. NATUREOFTHECASE 2.1 This is a civil action seeking damages against the Defendants for committing acts under color of state law which deprived Plaintiff of rights secured under the

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Constitution and laws of the United States.

PAUL MURPHY 122E2542 PAGE 1 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offices of ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. Holl’, St. #512 Belliogham. WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

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III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 3.1 This action arises as a result of Defendant’s violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and accordingly, this Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28

u.s.c.

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§
3.2

1331, 1334 and 1367, as well as 42 U.S.C.

§

1983.

Venue is appropriate in this Court under 28 U.S.C. §1391 because all acts and/or omissions described herein occurred in the county of Whatcom which is located

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within the Western District of Washington, Seattle Division.

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IV. PARTIES 4.1 Plaintiff Paul Murphy is and was at all times relevant to this Complaint, a resident of Whatcom County, Washington, and a citizen of the State of Washington in the United States. Prior to his termination Plaintiff was a sworn, uniformed Deputy

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Sheriff within the Whatcom County Sherriff’s Office. 4.2 At all times relevant to this Complaint, Defendant Bill Elfo was the duly elected Sherriff of the County of Whatcom, Washington. He is sued herein in both his individual and his official capacities. Defendant Bill Elfo is a resident of Whatcom County and a citizen of the State of Washington and the United States.

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At all times relevant to this Complaint, Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Whatcom County Sherriff’s Department, a Department of the County of Whatcom, a local government agency. At all times relevant to this complaint, Plaintiff performed his duties in an exemplary manner.

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V. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

PAUL MURPHY 122E2542 PAGE 2 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offices of ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. [buy St. #512 Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

1

5.1

In November of 2010, Defendant Bill Elfo was up for re-election for the office of the Sheriff in Whatcom County, Washington. Defendant Elfo had previously served for 8 years.

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5.2
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The Sherriff’s Office employs both sworn deputies and non-sworn administrative personnel. These are lower level employees who have no policymaking authority in the office. The Sherriff is the most senior executive officer within the

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organization and is responsible for all facets of its operations including the hiring and firing of employees. The Sherriff is elected every 4 years in accordance with the laws of Washington and is accountable only to the electorate.

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5.3

The Sherriff is assisted by other senior officers who are appointed solely by him and serve at his pleasure. These senior officers generally include the undersheriff, the chief inspector, and the other ranked officers. Defendant Elfo

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demands and receives absolute political loyalty from the senior officers within the office. 5.4 Over the lengthy tenure as Sheriff, Defendant Elfo has repeatedly used the power and resources of the Office in his re-election efforts. To achieve political ends, he has treated the varied resources of his Office as his own.

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5.5

It is believed and therefore alleged that he has used the Sherriff’s Office employees, including low level, non-supervisory employees, to plan, manage, staff and carry out political activities and events while on paid status;

5.6

It is believed and therefore alleged that he has directed County employees to research political websites that oppose his campaign.

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PAUL MURPHY— 122E2542 PAGE 3 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offlcesof

ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. Holly St. #512 Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

1

5.7

Defendant Elfo created a work environment in which political loyalty to the Sheriff or, at the very least, refraining from engaging in political opposition to the Sherriff, are conditions of employment.

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5.8
6

Before the 2011 election, Defendant Elfo actively sought to coerce certain employees from supporting his opponents or otherwise opposing his re-election efforts.

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5.9

Plaintiff actively supported Steve Harris, who was running for Sherriff in opposition to Defendant Elfo.

5.10
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Plaintiff was a contributor to a Facebook page titled ‘Campaign to un-elect Bill Elfo” (the name was later changed to “Boot Bill Elfo”). On this page the contributors, including Plaintiff, provided to the public arguments not to re-elect Defendant Elfo in the upcoming election.

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5.11

Defendant Elfo was improperly monitoring the “Campaign to un-elect Bill Elfo” Facebook page using County resources and County paid employees.

5.12

Inquiries were made to the County’s attorney to determine whether Plaintiff could legally be terminated due to his activity on Facebook. The County’s attorney advised that he could not be terminated for this reason. Defendant Elfo began

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looking for reasons to terminate Plaintiff’s position as Deputy Sherriff. Defendant Elfo asked Murphy to resign on December 15, 2011. Plaintiff refused to resign. 5.13 Defendant Elfo terminated Plaintiff’s position on June 22, 2012. VI. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION: Wrongful Termination in Violation of First and Fourteenth Amendments Rights to Free Speech

PAUL MURPHY—122E2542 PAGE 4 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offices of ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. Holly St. #512 Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

6.1
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Plaintiff incorporates all allegations set forth in this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

6.2
4

The termination of Plaintiff was unlawful, retaliatory and improper in that Defendant Bill Elfo effected this termination because the Plaintiff exercised his right to free speech by making public statements against Defendant Elfo’s reelection efforts, and by making public statements in support of Defendant Elfo’s

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opponent. As a result, his termination was constitutionally impermissible under the First Amendment which is applicable to and enforceable against state actors

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under the Fourteenth Amendment. 6.3 The actions of the Defendants constitute a wrongful and retaliatory discharge of the Plaintiff in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The actions of Defendant constitute a wrongful and

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retaliatory discharge of Plaintiff’s civil rights pursuant to 42 USC §1983, et seq. 6.4 As a direct, actual and proximate result of Defendant Elfo’s actions as set forth herein, Plaintiff has suffered significant damages including loss of back pay and benefits, loss of promotional opportunities, retirement benefits, mental anguish, pain and suffering, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

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VII.

SECONDCAUSEOFACTION:

Wrongful Termination in Violation of First and Fourteenth Amendments Rights to Freedom of Association and Political Association

7.1
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Plaintiff incorporates all allegations set forth in this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

PAUL MURPHY 1 22E2542 PAGE 5 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offices of ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. I-buy St. #512 Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

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7.2

The termination of Plaintiff was unlawful, retaliatory and improper in that Defendant Bill Elfo affected this termination because the Plaintiff exercised his right to freedom of association and political association by refusing to support

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Defendant Elfo’s reelection efforts, and by actively supporting Defendant Elfo’s opponent. As a result his termination was constitutionally impermissible under the First Amendment which is applicable to and enforceable against state actors

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under the Fourteenth Amendment. 7.3 The actions of the Defendants constitute a wrongful and retaliatory discharge of the Plaintiff in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United

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States Constitution. The actions of Defendant constitute a wrongful and retaliatory discharge of Plaintiff’s civil rights pursuant to 42 USC §1983, et seq. 7.4 As a direct, actual and proximate result of Defendant Elfo’s actions as set forth herein, Plaintiff has suffered significant damages including loss of back pay and benefits, loss of promotional opportunities, retirement benefits, mental anguish, pain and suffering, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

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VIII.
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PRAYER FOR RELIEF

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WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against defendant and relief as follows: 8.1 For damages provided under the applicable statutes, including but not limited to: a. Actual damages b. Economic damages resulting from the conduct described in this complaint, including loss of wages and benefits; c. Compensatory damages.

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PAUL MURPHY— 122E2542 PAGE 6 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Oftices of

ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. Holly St. #512 Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 734-3448

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d. Reinstatement of his former position with defendant County. e. Plaintiff’s costs and expenses incurred in this action, including but not limited to attorneys fees; legal expenses; and the fees of expert witnesses. 8.2 For such other relief as this Court may find just, equitable, and proper under the circumstances.

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DATED this

day of February, 2013 LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT D. BUTLER

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Robert D. Butler, WSBA #22475 Emily C. Beschen, WSBA# 43813 103 E. Holly Street, Suite 512 Bellingham, WA 98225 Phone: (360) 734-3448 Email: bobrdbutlerlaw.com Email: emilyrdbutlerlaw.com Email: admin(ärdbutTerlaw.com Attorneys for Plaintiff

PAUL MURPHY 1 22E2542 PAGE 7 OF 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Law Offices of ROBERT D. BUTLER 103 E. Flolly St. #512 Bellingham. WA 98225 (360) 731-3448

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