Havre Daily News
A Havre city attorney has asked a state District Court judge to dimiss a lawsuit filed last month against the city and the Havre Police Department.
City attorney Mary VanBuskirk on Friday filed a response on behalf of the city and Police Department personnel saying the lawsuit brought by former Havre dispatcher April Hanson missed a deadline provided under state law. She also denied that Hanson was wrongfully discharged and blacklisted, as the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit, filed by Conrad attorney Shari Gianarelli, claims that Police Chief Mike Barthel, the Police Department and the city terminated Hanson without cause on March 11. It alleges that senior patrol officer Cathy Huston “intentionally interfered” with Hanson's employment by making “unspecified and unsupported complaints” against her.
VanBuskirk wrote that Hanson's lawsuit has no basis.
“ ... City denies Plaintiff was discharged, because Plaintiff voluntarily quit, abandoned her shift, and failed to return to work,” VanBuskirk wrote. VanBuskirk, with the firm of Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale, Martin & Kaze, also denied that the city made Hanson's work envirnoment intolerable.
“Plaintiff is responsible and the sole cause for her alleged damages, if any,” she added.
VanBuskirk wrote that Hanson missed a 180-day deadline for discrimination complaints provided under state law.
Gianarelli could not be reached for comment today. VanBuskirk declined to comment.
Hanson, 26, is seeking four years' worth of lost wages and fringe benefits, together with interest, along with compensation for emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages and legal costs. She worked both part time and full time as a dispatcher from May 2002 to March 11, 2005.
Gianarelli has said that Hanson maintains she was terminated by the city. The attorney also has said the defendants made Hanson's work environment “hostile,” and the manner of her termination has made it impossible for her to find another job in Havre.
VanBuskirk also denied the claims against Huston.
The attorney denied Hanson's claim that she was blacklisted, adding: “Not withstanding this denial, City is allowed to make truthful statements concerning Plaintiff's employment to prospective employers” under state law.