The former acting police lawsuit against the city for unlawful termination will proceed after the city's motion to dismiss a portion of a complaint made in February was denied this week in New London Superior Court.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew terminated former Middletown Acting Police Chief Patrick T. McMahon on April 21, 2012, after a Loudermill hearing.
On Dec. 10, 2012, McMahon filed a four-count complaint against the city of Middletown and then acting city counsel Eric P. Daigle for termination of his employment contract. On Feb. 4 of this year, the city requested that the first count — termination without just cause — be dismissed on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction to decide the issue.
According to court documents, arguments were presented on May 6 and the city's motion to dismiss count one of McMahon's suit was denied by Judge Leeland J. Cole-Chu on Aug. 7.
"We're very pleased were's not surprised," says McMahon's attorney Leon Rosenblatt. "We thought it was a desperate motion to start with."
"The basis for the defendant's motion — that count one is an appeal provided by section 11 of the defendant's personnel rules — is without merit."
McMahon's complaint makes three other charges: breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, that Daigle intentionally interfered with McMahon's contract and beneficial relations; and a civil conspiracy between the former mayor, present chief of police and Daigle.
Last October, 18-year police captain and lifelong resident William McKenna was promoted to chief, a role vacant since the city's first female chief, Lynn M. Baldoni, retired in July 2009 after 26 years at the helm.
McMahon’s suit presents a long-term, close friendship between now Chief of Police William McKenna and the independent investigator he recommended, Daigle, who presented his report on McMahon’s alleged indiscretions.
In December 2012, Rosenblatt told Middletown Patch: “Number one, you don’t pick someone you’ve known since junior high school, their fathers worked together at Xavier High School, and they are social friends,” referring to McKenna retaining Daigle as an unbiased individual.
McMahon, who lives in Norwich, is seeking reinstatement to his job, punitive damages against the city and other damages in excess of $15,000.
Another lawsuit McMahon filed against the city in 2011 was dismissed in October after a judge found that McMahon lacked legal protections against being fired that he had claimed in the lawsuit.
On Oct. 24, 2011, Judge Edward S. Domnarski dismissed the lawsuit filed on Nov. 17, 2011, in Middletown Superior Court by McMahon.
A Middletown Superior Court judge agreed with the city's termination of McMahon, ruling his demands for a hearing were "inconsistent with legislative intent and illogical."
Meanwhile, Middletown's city counsel has already sent a notice to take Deputy Chief McMahon's deposition this month, Rosenblatt says, and discovery is underway. "We have already taken the former mayor's deposition and the people in his administration."