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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

CASE NO.

ADAM BURDEN, LARRY RILEY


VINCENT ROBINSON, TAMIKA MILLER and
TARA LAZIER,

Plaintiffs,

v.

THE CITY OF OPA LOCKA, FLORIDA,


A political subdivision of the State of Florida; and
CHERYL CASON, in her official capacity as
Chief of Police for the City of Opa Locka,
Florida, and in her individual capacity; and
CLARENCE PATTERSON, in his official
Capacity as City Manager for the City of Opa
Locka, Florida and in his individual capacity.

Defendants.

________________________________________________/

COMPLAINT and JURY DEMAND

Plaintiff(s) ADAM BURDEN(BURDEN), LARRY RILEY(RILEY), VINCENT

ROBINSON(ROBINSON), TAMIKA MILLER(MILLER) and TARA LAZIER(LAZIER) , by and

through his undersigned counsel, hereby sues Defendants THE CITY OF OPA LOCKA (CITY),

FLORIDA, A political subdivision of the State of Florida; and CHERYL CASON (CHIEF) , in her

official capacity as Chief of Police for the City of Opa Locka, Florida, and in her individual capacity;

and CLARENCE PATTERSON (PATTERSON) , in his official Capacity as City Manager for the

City of Opa Locka, Florida and in his individual capacity and alleges the following:
INTRODUCTION

1. This is a claim under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States

Constitution, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, seeking damages in excess of $75,000,

exclusive of interest and costs; for overtime compensation and other relief under the Fair Labor

Standards Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §216(b); for violation of the FMLA and for violation of

Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”.

2. This Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the Constitutional claim pursuant to 28

U.S.C. §§1331 and 1343, this Court is vested with jurisdiction to order an injunction, award front

pay, back pay, order reinstatement, or provide any other equitable relief as may be proper, as well as

awarding compensatory damages, attorney's fees and court costs, expenses, pre-judgment and post-

judgment interest, and any other legal and/or equitable relief deemed appropriate by this Court;

Jurisdiction for the FMLA claims is conferred on this Court by 28 U.S.C. §1331 and by 29 U.S.C.

§261(a)(2); Jurisdiction over the FLSA is conferred by 28 U.S.C. §1337 and by 29 U.S.C. §216(b);

3. The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the Florida claim(s) pursuant to 29

U.S.C. §1367 and original jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1343(b)

4. Venue is proper in this Court because the CITY maintains offices, does business, and

is located within Opa Locka, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Florida. In addition, venue is appropriate

within this Federal District and Division because the injury was sustained, and the conduct and cause

of action which gives rise to the instant suit occurred within Miami-Dade County, Florida.
5. Plaintiff BURDEN is an adult male individual who resides in Florida and is a

"person" under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and an employee entitled to bring such action. At all times material

hereto, BURDEN served as a Police Officer within the City of Opa Locka Police Department

("OLPD"), i.e. the CITY.

6. Plaintiff RILEY is an adult male individual who resides in Florida and is a "person"

under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and an employee entitled to bring such action. At all times material hereto,

RILEY served as a Police Officer within the City of Opa Locka Police Department ("OLPD"), i.e.

the CITY.

7. Plaintiff ROBINSON is an adult male individual who resides in Florida and is a

"person" under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and an employee entitled to bring such action. At all times material

hereto, ROBINSON served as a Police Officer within the City of Opa Locka Police Department

("OLPD"), i.e. the CITY.

8. Plaintiff MILLER is an adult female individual who resides in Florida and is a

"person" under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and an employee entitled to bring such action. At all times material

hereto, MILLER served as a “Crime Analyst” within the City of Opa Locka Police Department

("OLPD"), i.e. the CITY.

9. Plaintiff LAZIER is an adult male individual who resides in Florida and is a "person"

under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and an employee entitled to bring such action. At all times material hereto,

LAZIER served as a Police Officer within the City of Opa Locka Police Department ("OLPD"), i.e.

the CITY.

10. Defendant CITY is a municipal subdivision of the State of Florida and, at all times

material hereto, was and is the public employer of Plaintiff(S) . Further, Defendant CITY was and is

an "employer" and an entity subject to liability under 42 U.S.C. §1983


11. At all times relevant hereto, CITY , is and at all times mentioned herein was an

employer within the meaning of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

12. All conditions precdent to the maintenance of this action by all Plaintiffs have occurred

or have been waived, performed or excused.

COMMON FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

13. On Jaunary 27th, 2011 the Human Resources director for the City of Opa Locka started

conducting a fact finding within the City of Opa Locka Police Department at the direction

of the City Manager, as a result of claims, concerns and comments as to the dissatisfaction

or cocnerns within the Police Department.

14. Each of the Plaintiffs participated in the fact finding inquiry, being interviewed with

the understanding that all comments and information was being provided confidentially.

15. A report was issued on February 28th, 2011 in which numerous serious incidents were

revealed as to the everyday operations of the “Department”, which appeared to be systemic

in nature and of great public concern.

16. In particular, Plaitiffs made the inquiring body aware of Officers within the Police

Department being:

a. Concerned about favortism.

b. Officers not being reprimanded for violations of the code of conduct.

c. Complaints which are filed are not investigated or followed-up on with the

complaining officer.

d. Information about assignments is not disseminated in writing.

e. Officer are afraid to file a greivance for fear of reprisal.


f. Senior officers are not given consideration for promotion in a fair process

or with any transparency.

g. Rumors are not dealt with in a professional manner and at times invades

officers personal lives, with phone calls being placed to officers homes and to

family memebrs.

h. The department is interfered with politically and influenced by such

politics into making decisions.

i. Officers ordered to change patrol logs, evidence and arrest records.

j. Officers ordered to pay for traffic tickets issued to politically connected

persons.

k. Property stolen or removed from Police custody.

17. Subseuqent to the February 28th, 2011 report each of the Plaintiffs were retaliated

against by the CHIEF as is delineated for each Plaintiff below.

COUNT I
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”
ADAM BURDEN
18. Plaintiff BURDEN was hired as Deputy Chief of the Opa Locka Police Department in

January 2010.

19. Plaintiff BURDEN participated in the “Confidfential Inquiry” referenced in 13 above.

20. Subsequent to his participation, but prior to the written report being issued the CHIEF

started rumors that BURDEN was engaging in romantic interactions with an employee of
the Department.

21. On February 15th, 2011 the CHIEF was involved in an automobile accident while in a

CITY owned vehicle. The CHIEF failed to follow CITY and Department procedures and

did not report the accident properly. Instead, the CHIEF attempted to get the vehicle

repaired while not revealing the occurrence.

22. As Deputy Chief, BURDEN reported the CHIEF’s non compliance with CITY and

Department procedures as well as the circumstances surrounding the actions taken after the

accident by the CHIEF, to the City Manager, Clarence Patterson.

23. The City Manager then suspended the CHIEF.

24. The CHIEF returned to active duty from suspension on or about March 20th, 2011.

25. On March 21st, 2011 the CHIEF via a memo to the City Manager requested that

BURDEN be relieved of duty due to “recent circumstances”, effective immediately.

26. On March 22, 2011 the City Manager terminated BURDEN’s employment with the

City Police Department.

27. Such termination was in retaliation for BURDEN “blowing the whistle” on the CHIEF

in violation of Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.

28. All of the foregoing retaliatory actions have been taken, against BURDEN because of

his truthful testimony in the confidential inquiry, as well as for "blowing the whistle" on a

matter of public concerns; namely, the CHIEF’s failure to follow CITY and Department

procedures.

29. At all times material hereto, the CITY, through its authorized agents and employees

(most notably, CHIEF) were and are aware that retaliation for speaking out on matters of

public concern is prohibited under the First Amendment and Florida Statutes 112.3187

“Whistle-blower’s Act.
30. No legitimate business reasons existed under the CITY's policies, past practices,

procedures and/or supervisory instructions to justify the retaliation against BURDEN with

the “loss of confidence” based allegations lodged against BURDEN being a mere pretext

for retaliation.

31. Plaintiff BURDEN would not have been the subject of retaliation in the form of a

hostile work environment, and the other retaliatory conduct complained of herein,

specifically his termination but for his constitutionally protected speech activities

32. No legitimate governmental interest was served by denial of BURDEN's free speech

rights.

33. The conduct complained of herein was taken under color of the laws of the State of

Florida.

34. The persons who engaged in the conduct of which BURDEN complains, (primarily

CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON, were of such position and authority so that their acts

may fairly be said to constitute the official expressions of the CITY's custom, policy or

usage. In fact, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON were the final policy and ultimate

decision makers for the CITY's police department and CITY, respectively, in terms of

policy and personnel matters.

35. As a result of the conduct by the CITY, through the deliberate and willful actions of

primarily CHIEF CASON in retaliation for BURDEN's exercise of his constitutionally

protected right to freedom of speech, BURDEN has been subjected to deprivation of his rights

as secured and protected to him by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of

the United States, and has been thereby damaged.

36. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the CITY's actions, BURDEN has
suffered past and future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, embarrassment,

humiliation, inconvenience and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of dignity,

emotional distress and other non-pecuniary losses and intangible injuries, specifically through

actions of the CITY"s agents and employees, BURDEN has been tangibly harmed concerning

the terms and conditions of his employment, which damages include loss of pay and benefits;

damage to his chosen career path, including the damage by being required to spend money in

an effort to secure other employment; loss of retirement and pension benefits, damage to his

reputation, both as a person and as a public servant, damage by loss of dignity; as well as

severe emotional anguish and distress.

37. Plaintiff is entitled to and seeks an award of attorney's fees for bringing this action,

as part of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff BURDEN respectfully prays:

(a) that he be awarded compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.00 against the

Defendants, CITY, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON , jointly and severally, in

both CHIEF CASONS' and PATTERSON'S official and individual capacities

including, but not limited to: for past and future lost compensation caused by the

loss of any salary or merit increases; for damage to his career; for damages for

severe mental anguish and suffering; for damage to BURDEN's reputation as an

individual and as a public employee; and for other direct and consequential

damages suffered by Plaintiff as the direct and proximate result of all of the

Defendants' actions in violation of Plaintiffs clearly established constitutional

right to free association;

(b) that he be awarded prejudgment interest;


(c) that a Final Order be entered directing that all disciplinary actions, negative

comments, and claims of performance deficiencies against BURDEN and forming

a matter of public record be expunged, or declared to have been improperly issued,

to the extent permissible by Florida law;

(d) that BURDEN be awarded front pay and benefits for a reasonable time, within the

discretion of this Court, in lieu of reinstatement, should BURDEN be terminated

prior to trial and if determined that reinstatement is impossible or impractical;

(e) that BURDEN be awarded costs of this action, including reasonable attorney's

fees as apart of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1988; and

(f) that BURDEN be awarded such other legal and/or equitable relief as may be

deemed appropriate by this Court.

COUNT II
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”
LARRY RILEY

38. Plaintiff Larry Riley was hired by the City of Opa Locka Police Department in January

2010 as a Captain in charge of the “Internal Affairs” Department.

39. Plaintiff RILEY participated in the “Confidfential Inquiry” referenced in 13 above.

40. Prior to the RILEY participating in the “Inquiry”, RILEY brought to the attention of

the CHIEF and others in the City political hiearchy potential crimminal activity of a code

enforcement officer. RILEY had been asked to investigate a number of large code

enforcement fines levied against a local business.

41. Upon conducting his investigation, RILEY found that the Code enforcement officer
may have been engaging in questionable activity.

42. Subequent to RILEY participating in the “Inquiry”, RILEY was informed in no

uncertain terms to “drop” the investigation he was previously assigned.

43. On April 13th, 2011, RILEY was terminated from his employment with the CITY at the

CHIEF’s request.

44. All of the foregoing retaliatory actions have been taken, against RILEY because of his

truthful testimony in the confidential inquiry, as well as for "blowing the whistle" on a

matter of public concerns; namely, the investigation of the code enforcement officer.

45. At all times material hereto, the CITY, through its authorized agents and employees

(most notably, CHIEF) were and are aware that retaliation for speaking out on matters of

public concern is prohibited under the First Amendment and Florida Statutes 112.3187

“Whistle-blower’s Act.

46. No legitimate business reasons existed under the CITY's policies, past practices,

procedures and/or supervisory instructions to justify the retaliation against RILEY with the

“loss of confidence” based allegations lodged against RILEY being a mere pretext for

retaliation.

47. Plaintiff RILEY would not have been the subject of retaliation in the form of a hostile

work environment, and the other retaliatory conduct complained of herein, including his

termination but for his constitutionally protected speech activities

48. No legitimate governmental interest was served by denial of RILEY 's free speech

rights.

49. The conduct complained of herein was taken under color of the laws of the State of

Florida.

50. The persons who engaged in the conduct of which RILEY complains, (primarily
CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON, were of such position and authority so that their acts

may fairly be said to constitute the official expressions of the CITY's custom, policy or

usage. In fact, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON were the final policy and ultimate

decision makers for the CITY's police department and CITY, respectively, in terms of

policy and personnel matters.

51. As a result of the conduct by the CITY, through the deliberate and willful actions of

primarily CHIEF CASON in retaliation for RILEY's exercise of his constitutionally

protected right to freedom of speech, RILEY has been subjected to deprivation of his

rights as secured and protected to him by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the

Constitution of the United States, and has been thereby damaged.

52. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the CITY's actions, RILEY has

suffered past and future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, embarrassment,

humiliation, inconvenience and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of dignity,

emotional distress and other non-pecuniary losses and intangible injuries, specifically

through actions of the CITY"s agents and employees, RILEY has been tangibly harmed

concerning the terms and conditions of his employment, which damages include loss of

pay and benefits; damage to his chosen career path, including the damage by being required

to spend money in an effort to secure other employment; loss of retirement and pension

benefits, damage to his reputation, both as a person and as a public servant, damage by loss

of dignity; as well as severe emotional anguish and distress.

53. Plaintiff is entitled to and seeks an award of attorney's fees for bringing this action, as

part of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff RILEY respectfully prays:


(a) that he be awarded compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.00 against the

Defendants, CITY, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON , jointly and severally, in

both CHIEF CASONS' and PATTERSON'S official and individual capacities

including, but not limited to: for past and future lost compensation caused by the

loss of any salary or merit increases; for damage to his career; for damages for

severe mental anguish and suffering; for damage to RILEY's reputation as an

individual and as a public employee; and for other direct and consequential

damages suffered by Plaintiff as the direct and proximate result of all of the

Defendants' actions in violation of Plaintiffs clearly established constitutional

right to free association;

(g) that he be awarded prejudgment interest;

(h) that a Final Order be entered directing that all disciplinary actions, negative

comments, and claims of performance deficiencies against RILEY and forming a

matter of public record be expunged, or declared to have been improperly issued,

to the extent permissible by Florida law;

(i) that RILEY be awarded front pay and benefits for a reasonable time, within the

discretion of this Court, in lieu of reinstatement, should RILEY be terminated

prior to trial and if determined that reinstatement is impossible or impractical;

(j) that RILEY be awarded costs of this action, including reasonable attorney's fees

as apart of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1988; and

(k) that RILEY be awarded such other legal and/or equitable relief as may be

deemed appropriate by this Court.


COUNT III
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”
VINCENT ROBINSON

54. Plaintiff ROBINSON has been a police officer employed by the City of Opa Locka

Police Department in excess of 15 years.

55. At the current time ROBINSON holds the rank of Major within the Police Department.

56. Plaintiff ROBINSON participated in the “Confidfential Inquiry” referenced in 13

above.

57. Subsequent to participating in the “Inquiry”, the CHIEF stripped ROBINSON of the

title “Operations” and reassigned ROBINSON to a community based unit which at the time

was slated for disbandment due to lack of renewed funding by the City of Opa Locka

Commission.

58. At the same time, the CHIEF moved ROBINSON’s physical offices to a building

outside of the main Police Department, with no provision of essential support, including no

computer resources.

59. Access to the new building was shutdown for ROBINSON for a porlonged period of

time.

60. The CHIEF placed ROBINSON on night patrol.

61. ROBSINON filed written complaints with the City complaining of the above conduct.

62. Subsequent to ROBINSON’s written complaints and subsequent to the “inquiry

report”, the CHIEF has changed ROBINSON’s assigments on a weekly basis and has

refused to put such reassigments in writing.


63. The CHIEF since the “inquiry report” has stated in the presence of other officers, that

ROBINSON was spreading lies about the CHIEF, specifically allegations in the

confidential inquiry that ROBINSON was ordered to pay for traffic citation ticket given to

relatives of persosns connected to the police department or with political connection.

64. ROBINSON has been subjected to a hostile work envirnoment due to his participation

in the “Inquiry” and in carrying out his job requirements as Major.

65. Such stress has caused ROBINSON to take medically necessary time away from

employment under the FMLA.

66. All of the foregoing retaliatory actions have been taken, against ROBINSON because

of his truthful testimony in the confidential inquiry, as well as for "blowing the whistle" on

a matter of public concerns.

67. At all times material hereto, the CITY, through its authorized agents and employees

(most notably, CHIEF) were and are aware that retaliation for speaking out on matters of

public concern is prohibited under the First Amendment and Florida Statutes 112.3187

“Whistle-blower’s Act.

68. No legitimate business reasons existed under the CITY's policies, past practices,

procedures and/or supervisory instructions to justify the retaliation against ROBINSON

with the “loss of confidence” based allegations lodged against ROBINSON being a mere

pretext for retaliation.

69. The conduct complained of herein was taken under color of the laws of the State of

Florida.

70. The persons who engaged in the conduct of which ROBINSON complains, (primarily

CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON, were of such position and authority so that their acts

may fairly be said to constitute the official expressions of the CITY's custom, policy or
usage. In fact, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON were the final policy and ultimate

decision makers for the CITY's police department and CITY, respectively, in terms of

policy and personnel matters.

71.

72. Plaintiff ROBINSON would not have been the subject of retaliation in the form of a

hostile work environment, and the other retaliatory conduct complained of herein but for

her constitutionally protected speech activities

73. No legitimate governmental interest was served by denial of ROBSINON's

free speech rights.

74. As a result of the conduct by the CITY, through the deliberate and willful

actions of primarily CHIEF CASON in retaliation for ROBINSON's exercise of his

constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, ROBINSON has been subjected to

deprivation of his rights as secured and protected to him by the First and Fourteenth

Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and has been thereby damaged.

75. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the CITY's actions,

ROBINSON has suffered past and future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering,

embarrassment, humiliation, inconvenience and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life,

loss of dignity, emotional distress and other non-pecuniary losses and intangible injuries,

specifically through actions of the CITY"s agents and employees, ROBINSON has been

tangibly harmed concerning the terms and conditions of his employment, which damages

include loss of pay and benefits; damage to his chosen career path, including the damage by

being required to spend money in an effort to secure other employment; loss of retirement and
pension benefits, damage to his reputation, both as a person and as a public servant, damage

by loss of dignity; as well as severe emotional anguish and distress.

76. Plaintiff is entitled to and seeks an award of attorney's fees for bringing this action,

as part of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff ROBINSON respectfully prays:

(a) that he be awarded compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.00 against the

Defendants, CITY, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON , jointly and severally, in

both CHIEF CASONS' and PATTERSON'S official and individual capacities

including, but not limited to: for past and future lost compensation caused by the

loss of any salary or merit increases; for damage to his career; for damages for

severe mental anguish and suffering; for damage to ROBINSON's reputation as

an individual and as a public employee; and for other direct and consequential

damages suffered by Plaintiff as the direct and proximate result of all of the

Defendants' actions in violation of Plaintiffs clearly established constitutional

right to free association;

(l) that he be awarded prejudgment interest;

(m) that a Final Order be entered directing that all disciplinary actions, negative

comments, and claims of performance deficiencies against ROBINSON and

forming a matter of public record be expunged, or declared to have been

improperly issued, to the extent permissible by Florida law;

(n) that ROBINSON be awarded front pay and benefits for a reasonable time, within

the discretion of this Court, in lieu of reinstatement, should ROBINSON be


terminated prior to trial and if determined that reinstatement is impossible or

impractical;

(o) that ROBINSON be awarded costs of this action, including reasonable attorney's

fees as apart of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1988; and

(p) that ROBINSON be awarded such other legal and/or equitable relief as may

be deemed appropriate by this Court.

COUNT IV
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”
Fair Labor Standards Act
TAMIKA MILLER

-A-
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”

77. Plaintiff MILLER is employed by the City of Opa Locka Police Department in a

civilian position as a “Crime Analyst”

78. Plaintiff MILLER participated in the “Confidfential Inquiry” referenced in 13 above.

79. Subsequent to participating in the “Inquiry”, the CHIEF reassigned MILLER to a

community based unit which at the time was slated for disbandment due to lack of renewed

funding by the City of Opa Locka Commission.

80. At the same time, the CHIEF moved MILLER’s physical offices to a building outside

of the main Police Department, with no provision of essential support, including no

computer or telephone resources.

81. Access to the new building was shutdown for MILLER for a prolonged period of time.

82. MILLER filed written complaints with the City complaining of the above conduct.
83. Subsequent to MILLER’s written complaints and subsequent to the “inquiry report”,

the CHIEF has changed MILLER’s assigments on a weekly basis and has refused to put

such reassigments in writing.

84. The CHIEF since the “inquiry report” has stated in the presence of other officers, that

MILLER was of a character not favorable to a female.

85. On or about May 23rd, 2011, a number of Police officers appeared at MILLER’S office

along with Deputy Chief Barrett and requested MILLER sign a disiplinary form alleging

that MILLER was away from work on various dates and times, which referenced periods

taking place three (3) weeks prior.

86. The time taken away from MILLER’S employment was in connection with a State

Attorney’s subpoena, requiring MILLER to appear and give testimony in connection with

an ehtics probe of the City of Opa Locka’s Police Department by the State Attorney’s

office.

87. Such subpoena had been previously been clocked and logged in by the City of Opa

Locka’s Police court liasion officer.

88. MILLER has been subjected to a hostile work envirnoment due to her participation in

the “Inquiry” and in carrying out her job requirements, specifically complying with the

subpoena issued by the State Attorney’s office.

89. All of the foregoing retaliatory actions have been taken, against MILLER because of

her truthful testimony in the confidential inquiry, as well as for "blowing the whistle" on a

matter of public concerns; namely, an officer using a stun instrument on another officer

during horseplay and not being disciplined or investigated.

90. At all times material hereto, the CITY, through its authorized agents and employees
(most notably, CHIEF) were and are aware that retaliation for speaking out on matters of

public concern is prohibited under the First Amendment and Florida Statutes 112.3187

“Whistle-blower’s Act.

91. No legitimate business reasons existed under the CITY's policies, past practices,

procedures and/or supervisory instructions to justify the retaliation against MILLER with

the “loss of confidence” based allegations lodged against MILLER being a mere pretext

for retaliation.

92. The conduct complained of herein was taken under color of the laws of the State of

Florida.

93. The persons who engaged in the conduct of which MILLER complains, (primarily

CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON, were of such position and authority so that their acts

may fairly be said to constitute the official expressions of the CITY's custom, policy or

usage. In fact, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON were the final policy and ultimate

decision makers for the CITY's police department and CITY, respectively, in terms of

policy and personnel matters.

94. Plaintiff MILLER would not have been the subject of retaliation in the form of a

hostile work environment, and the other retaliatory conduct complained of herein but for

her constitutionally protected speech activities

95. No legitimate governmental interest was served by denial of MILLER's free speech

rights.
96. As a result of the conduct by the CITY, through the deliberate and willful actions of

primarily CHIEF CASON in retaliation for MILLER's exercise of his constitutionally protected

right to freedom of speech, MILLER has been subjected to deprivation of his rights as secured
and protected to him by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United

States, and has been thereby damaged.

97. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the CITY's actions, MILLER has

suffered past and future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, embarrassment, humiliation,

inconvenience and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of dignity, emotional distress

and other non-pecuniary losses and intangible injuries, specifically through actions of the

CITY"s agents and employees, MILLER has been tangibly harmed concerning the terms and

conditions of his employment, which damages include loss of pay and benefits; damage to his

chosen career path, including the damage by being required to spend money in an effort to secure

other employment; loss of retirement and pension benefits, damage to his reputation, both as a

person and as a public servant, damage by loss of dignity; as well as severe emotional anguish

and distress.

98. Plaintiff is entitled to and seeks an award of attorney's fees for bringing this action,

as part of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988.

-B-
Fair Labor Standards Act

99. Plaintiff MILLER performed non-exempt work providing labor duties for

Defendants in South Florida.

100. At all times material to this Complaint , Defednant CITY, was engaged in interstate

commerce or in the production of goods for commerce as defined in the Act 29 U.S.C. §203(r)

and 203(s). Based upon information and belief, the annual gross sales volumes of Defednant

CITY was in excess of $500,000.00 per anum

101. MILLER is entitled to be paid time and one-half of her regular pay for each hour
worked in excess of Forty (40) hours per work week for the time period June 3rd , 2008

through June 1st , 2011, estimated to be 36 hours each week the Plaintiff was employed

by the employer.

102. However, the Defendant CITY did not pay time and half wages for all of the overtime

hours worked by MILLER.

103. By reason of the said intentional, willful and unlawful acts of the Defendants, Plaintiff

MILLER has suffered damages plus incurring costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

104. As a result of Defendants’ willful violations of the Act, Plaintiff MILLER is entitled

to liquidated damges.

105. The records concerning the hours worked by, if any, MILLER are in the possession

and custody of the Defendants. The records concerning the compensation actually paid to

the Plaintiffs an all other similarly situated employees are in the possession and custody of

the Defendants

106. Plaintiffs have retained the undersigned counsel to represent them in this action, and

pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §216(b), Plaintiffs are entitled to all reasonable attorney fees and

costs incurred in his action.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff MILLER respectfully prays:

(a) that he be awarded compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.00 against

the Defendants, CITY, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON , jointly and

severally, in both CHIEF CASONS' and PATTERSON'S official and

individual capacities including, but not limited to: for past and future lost

compensation caused by the loss of any salary or merit increases; for damage

to his career; for damages for severe mental anguish and suffering; for damage

to MILLER's reputation as an individual and as a public employee; and for


other direct and consequential damages suffered by Plaintiff as the direct and

proximate result of all of the Defendants' actions in violation of Plaintiffs

clearly established constitutional right to free association;

(b) that he be awarded prejudgment interest;

(c) that a Final Order be entered directing that all disciplinary actions, negative

comments, and claims of performance deficiencies against MILLER and forming

a matter of public record be expunged, or declared to have been improperly issued,

to the extent permissible by Florida law;

(d) that MILLER be awarded front pay and benefits for a reasonable time,

within the discretion of this Court, in lieu of reinstatement, should MILLER

be terminated prior to trial and if determined that reinstatement is impossible

or impractical;

(e) that MILLER be awarded costs of this action, including reasonable

attorney's fees as apart of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1988; and

(f) . for payment of for the payment of all overtime hours at one and one-half

their regular rate of pay due them for the hours worked by them for which

they have not been properly compensated and liquidated damages.

(g) that MILLER be awarded such other legal and/or equitable relief as may

be deemed appropriate by this Court.


COUNT III
42 U.S.C. §1983 &
Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”
Fair Labor Standards Act & Family Medical Leave Act
TARA LAZIER

-A-

42 U.S.C. §1983 &


Florida Statutes 112.3187 “Whistle-blower’s Act.”

107. Plaintiff LAZIER has been a police officer employed by the City of Opa Locka Police

Department in excess of 10 years.

108. At the current time LAZIER is a police officer within the Police Department.

109. Plaintiff LAZIER participated in the “Confidfential Inquiry” referenced in 13 above.

110. Subsequent to participating in the “Inquiry”, the CHIEF reassigned LAZIER to the

“internal affairs” department and moved LAZIER’s physical office.

111. Shortly after having her office moved and while occupying her new office, LAZIER

discovered a recording device hidden within the desk of a co-worker, such device was

recording all conversations within the office.

112. LAZIER reported this incident to the Human Resources Department.

113. LAZIER was then placed on the “night” shift at the CHIEF’s direction.

114. Subsequent to participating in the “Inquiry” and subsequent to the “recording” incident,

the CHIEF reassigned LAZIER to a community based unit which at the time was slated

for disbandment due to lack of renewed funding by the City of Opa Locka Commission.

115. At the same time, the CHIEF moved LAZIER’s physical offices again to a building

outside of the main Police Department, with no provision of essential support, including no

computer or telephone resources.


116. Access to the new building was shutdown for LAZIER for a prolonged period of time.

117. LAZIER filed written complaints with the City complaining of the above conduct.

118. Subsequent to MILLER’s written complaints and subsequent to the “inquiry report”,

the CHIEF has changed MILLER’s assigments on a weekly basis and has refused to put

such reassigments in writing.

119. Subsequent to the “recording incident”, LAZIER needed to take FMLA medical leave

due to the envirnoment within the Police Department.

120. Upon LAZIER’s return form FMLA the CHIEF reassigned LAZIER once again, this

time to the Code Enforcement Department, a Department not associated with the Police

Department..

121. LAZIER has been subjected to a hostile work envirnoment due to her participation in

the “Inquiry” and in carrying out her job requirements.

122. All of the foregoing retaliatory actions have been taken, against LAZIER because of

her truthful testimony in the confidential inquiry, as well as for "blowing the whistle" on a

matter of public concerns; namely, the systemic deviations in carrying out City policy

within the Police Department.

123. At all times material hereto, the CITY, through its authorized agents and employees

(most notably, CHIEF) were and are aware that retaliation for speaking out on matters of

public concern is prohibited under the First Amendment and Florida Statutes 112.3187

“Whistle-blower’s Act.

124. No legitimate business reasons existed under the CITY's policies, past practices,

procedures and/or supervisory instructions to justify the retaliation against LAZIER with

the “loss of confidence” based allegations lodged against LAZIER being a mere pretext

for retaliation.
125. The conduct complained of herein was taken under color of the laws of the State of

Florida.

126. The persons who engaged in the conduct of which LAZIER complains, (primarily

CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON, were of such position and authority so that their acts

may fairly be said to constitute the official expressions of the CITY's custom, policy or

usage. In fact, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON were the final policy and ultimate

decision makers for the CITY's police department and CITY, respectively, in terms of

policy and personnel matters.

127.

128. Plaintiff LAZIER would not have been the subject of retaliation in the form of a

hostile work environment, and the other retaliatory conduct complained of herein but for

her constitutionally protected speech activities

129. No legitimate governmental interest was served by denial of LAZIER's free speech

rights.

130. As a result of the conduct by the CITY, through the deliberate and willful

actions of primarily CHIEF CASON in retaliation for LAZIER's exercise of his

constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, LAZIER has been subjected to

deprivation of his rights as secured and protected to him by the First and Fourteenth

Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and has been thereby damaged.

131. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the CITY's actions, LAZIER

has suffered past and future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, embarrassment,

humiliation, inconvenience and mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of dignity,

emotional distress and other non-pecuniary losses and intangible injuries, specifically through

actions of the CITY"s agents and employees, LAZIER has been tangibly harmed concerning
the terms and conditions of his employment, which damages include loss of pay and benefits;

damage to his chosen career path, including the damage by being required to spend money in

an effort to secure other employment; loss of retirement and pension benefits, damage to his

reputation, both as a person and as a public servant, damage by loss of dignity; as well as

severe emotional anguish and distress.

-B-
Fair Labor Standards Act

132. Plaintiff LAZIER performed non-exempt work providing labor duties for

Defendants in South Florida.

133. At all times material to this Complaint , Defednant CITY, was engaged in interstate

commerce or in the production of goods for commerce as defined in the Act 29 U.S.C. §203(r)

and 203(s). Based upon information and belief, the annual gross sales volumes of Defednant

CITY was in excess of $500,000.00 per anum

134. LAZIER is entitled to be paid time and one-half of her regular pay for each hour

worked in excess of Forty (40) hours per work week for the time period June 3rd , 2008

through June 1st , 2011, estimated to be 36 hours each week the Plaintiff were employed

by the employer.

135. However, the Defendant CITY did not pay time and half wages for all of the overtime

hours worked by LAZIER.

136. By reason of the said intentional, willful and unlawful acts of the Defendants, Plaintiff

LAZIER has suffered damages plus incurring costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

137. As a result of Defendants’ willful violations of the Act, Plaintiff LAZIER is entitled

to liquidated damges.
138. The records concerning the hours worked by, if any, LAZIER are in the possession and

custody of the Defendants. The records concerning the compensation actually paid to the

Plaintiffs an all other similarly situated employees are in the possession and custody of the

Defendants

139. Plaintiff have retained the undersigned counsel to represent them in this action, and

pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §216(b), Plaintiffs are entitled to all reasonable attorney fees and

costs incurred in his action.

-C-
Violation of FMLA

140. Plaintiff LAZIER was a full-time employee who Defendant CITY employed for over one

year.

141. During the course of LAZIERs employment the Defendant CITY recognized the Family

Medical Leave Act “FMLA”.

142. Defendant’s recognized FMLA’s allowance for a 12 week leave of absence for serious

injuries such as Plaintiff’s.

143. On or about April 28, 2011 LAZIER applied for FMLA due to a serious health condition.

144. The City approved LAZIER’s leave for a period of time her physician indicated she should

be not able to work.

145. Upon LAZIER’s return to the Police Department, the CHIEF reassigned LAZIER to a

position within the Code Enforcement Department.

146. Such reassigment violates the FMLA in that LAZIER was not placed in a position equal

to her pre FMLA leave position.


147. As a result of Defendants’ actions, LAZIER has suffered irreparable injuries, including

but not limited to loss of pay, benefits and other economic losses, emotional pain and suffering,

mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, personal indignity and other intangible injuries for.

(a) that she be awarded compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.00 against

the Defendants, CITY, CHIEF CASON and PATTERSON , jointly and

severally, in both CHIEF CASONS' and PATTERSON'S official and

individual capacities including, but not limited to: for past and future lost

compensation caused by the loss of any salary or merit increases; for damage

to his career; for damages for severe mental anguish and suffering; for damage

to LAZIER's reputation as an individual and as a public employee; and for

other direct and consequential damages suffered by Plaintiff as the direct and

proximate result of all of the Defendants' actions in violation of Plaintiffs

clearly established constitutional right to free association;

(b) that he be awarded prejudgment interest;

(c) that a Final Order be entered directing that all disciplinary actions, negative

comments, and claims of performance deficiencies against LAZIER and forming

a matter of public record be expunged, or declared to have been improperly issued,

to the extent permissible by Florida law;

(d) that LAZIER be awarded front pay and benefits for a reasonable time, within

the discretion of this Court, in lieu of reinstatement, should LAZIER be

terminated prior to trial and if determined that reinstatement is impossible or

impractical;
(e) that LAZIER be awarded costs of this action, including reasonable attorney's

fees as apart of his costs, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1988; and

(f) for payment of for the payment of all overtime hours at one and one-half

their regular rate of pay due them for the hours worked by them for which

they have not been properly compensated and liquidated damages.

(g) For reinstatement to the position she held prior to her FMLA leave;

(h) that LAZIER be awarded such other legal and/or equitable relief as may

be deemed appropriate by this Court.


DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff(s) BURDEN, RILEY, ROBINSON, MILLER and LAZIER, hereby respectfully demands trial by

jury on all issues and counts triable of right before a jury

Dated: Friday, June 03, 2011

Miramar ,Florida

Respectfully submitted,
s/ Alex J. Pearlberg
Alex J. Pearlberg
Florida Bar No. 934976
E-mail: alex@fl-wc.com
Law Offices of Alex J. Pearlberg, LLC.
3350 SW 148th Avenue
Suite 110
Miramar, Florida 33027
Telephone: 954-682-8843
Facsimile: 206-202-1821