Rose Kallor, LLP is pleased to announce that it has secured a summary judgment disposition in an employment retaliation action, which included allegations of free speech retaliation under the U.S. and Connecticut Constitutions. The case was heard before the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
This action concerned alleged retaliation by former Meriden Police Chief Jeffrey Cossette against former Meriden Police Captain Patrick Gaynor for testimony Gaynor made in a separate criminal action in 2013. Gaynor asserted that his testimony was constitutionally “protected speech” and that he was terminated for his testimony. The City of Meriden argued instead that the Gaynor was terminated for a “pattern of untruths and reckless disregard for the truth” in a related ethics compliant and subsequent internal affairs investigation.
Earlier, in 2020, Gaynor filed a union / labor arbitration claim alleging wrongful discharge. The City of Meriden, represented by Michael J. Rose, prevailed in that arbitration decision. The City contended in this federal case that Gaynor's misleading statements and the arbitration finding were so determinative that no reasonable jury could find in Gaynor's favor.
In its decision, the District Court gave substantial evidentiary weight to the decision of the arbitration panel and agreed that no reasonable jury could find that Gaynor was terminated due to his testimony in federal court. The Court held that an arbitration award, while not alone sufficient to defeat a federal claim, is afforded “great weight” on issues of facts and on positions that were uncontested at the time of the panel's findings.
The decision stands for the proposition that, in appropriate circumstances, arbitration awards in disciplinary matters are entitled to substantial, if not dispositive, deference by the court.
The case is Gaynor v. City of Meriden and Jeffry Cossette, Civil Action No. 3:17-cv-1103 (CSH).
Any questions should be directed to counsel for the City of Meriden, Michael J. Rose of Rose Kallor, LLP. Attorney Rose can be reached at 860.361.7999.
About Rose Kallor:
Rose Kallor, LLP is a labor and employment law firm with offices in Hartford, Connecticut and New York, New York. Rose Kallor concentrates its practice in the representation of public and private-sector employers, individuals, and municipalities in the New England and New York Metropolitan area. Committed to high-quality, professional representation, the attorneys at Rose Kallor stand ready to provide legal counsel on all aspects of employment and labor law. For more about Rose Kallor, visit our website at https://www.rosekallor.com/.
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