Judge dismisses Eugene police auditor’s lawsuit

EUGENE, Ore. — A Lane County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former deputy Eugene police auditor who claimed she was fired for being a whistle-blower.

Dawn Reynolds’ original federal whistle-blower lawsuit sought $550,000 in damages. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken dismissed the federal claims in that suit in 2011 and sent the state claims to Lane County Circuit Court for further action.

Judge Charles Carlson heard arguments last week and decided this week to dismiss the remaining claims.

At issue was whether Reynolds was fired in 2010 for reporting two alleged instances of misconduct, one an off-the-record report of police misconduct she passed on to police auditor Mark Gissiner and the other the shredding of documents by staff at Gissiner’s direction.

Carlson found that nothing clearly connected Reynolds’ firing to the delivery of the misconduct report to Gissiner. Moreover, Reynolds took down the report of police misconduct in an off-the-record manner, and “one cannot base a whistle-blower claim on one’s own alleged misconduct,” Carlson wrote.

Carlson said there was no evidence the shredding was covered up or done in secret, and said it appeared to be a simple disagreement over proper procedures.

“This appears to have been nothing more than a difference of opinion (regarding) application of certain city and state public records laws and ordinances that resolved itself in an open and orderly manner within the city government,” Carlson wrote.

Judy Snyder, the attorney representing Reynolds, said she will take the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals. An appeal of the federal court dismissal already is pending before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Our goal is to get it before a jury,” Snyder told The Register-Guard. “That’s what we want, so we plan on pursuing the only avenue that’s available to us.”

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