Court tosses $2.75M harassment suit filed against former Trumbull commissioner
A federal judge has thrown out a $2.75 million lawsuit filed by a former Trumbull County employee against former County Commissioner Frank Fuda.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court a year ago by Paulette Godfrey of McDonald, blamed Fuda for the loss of the job she held with the county since 2005.
Godfrey claimed that Fuda harassed, tormented, bullied, and acted in an abusive manner toward her after she made a comment at a commissioner’s meeting that Fuda had previously been hostile and abusive to her in the workplace.
According to the lawsuit, Fuda’s alleged conduct created a work environment so hostile that Godfrey’s doctor told her that in the interest of her health, she needed to leave the Clerk’s job she held for sixteen years.
Although Godfrey left her job in July of the previous year, she claims that she was in effect terminated because of the working conditions allegedly imposed by Fuda.
In dismissing Godfrey’s complaint, Judge John Adams noted that allegations of managerial incompetence to not amount to constitutionally protected speech.
In addition, Judge Adams dismissed Godfrey’s complaint because her criticism of Fuda were not made as a private citizen, and a federal court is not the proper forum to review a personnel decision taken by a public agency in reaction to an employee’s behavior.
At the time the Godfrey filed her complaint, Fuda told 21 News he never treated anyone like a bully.
Fuda is no longer a commissioner after opting not to run for re-election last year.