The former chief counsel to the Los Angeles County Board has sued the county and individual members of the Board of Supervisors, claiming that they wrongfully discharged him from the position and intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress. The facts alleged in the wrongful termination complaint paint a picture of the abuse of political power and paint the plaintiff as opposing many improper actions by the Board.
The plaintiff, Mark Paladino, was appointed to the position of County Counsel in September 2014. As County Counsel, Paladino served as the Board's chief legal adviser. As his term progressed, Paladino became concerned that certain Board members were violating California's open meeting law. The complaint alleges that board members often ignored his advice about the requirements of the open meeting law. According to the complaint, Paladino often clashed with Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael Antonovich over open meeting law procedures.
The complaint alleges that the board agreed to fire Paladino after being urged to do so by Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Antonovich. The complaint also alleges that the board demanded that Paladino issue a press release stating that he had resigned voluntarily and had requested a transfer. The complaint is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. In order to prevail, Paladino must prove that the County Board acted with an improper motive that violated one or more important public policies.
This case follows the typical pattern of wrongful discharge actions. The employee has a conflict with a supervisor and is forced to quit. The employer attempts to characterize the termination as voluntary on the part of the employee in order to escape liability for wrongful termination. Anyone who is in such a conflict situation may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in representing employees who have been wrongfully terminated. Such a consultation can provide a useful analysis of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for lost income, mental anguish and pain and suffering.
Source: My NewsLA, "LA County ex-top lawyer sues former bosses," Hoa Quach, July 15, 2016