City electrician alleges retaliatory termination

By The Louisiana Record | Apr 7, 2015

A Jefferson Parish electrician is suing a municipal government and its associated employees, alleging wrongful termination in 2014.

Joseph Metzler filed a lawsuit March 24 in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana against the city of Kenner, and three of its officials, Mayor Mike Yenni, Amy Vallot and Richard Walther, of the Department of Inspections and Code Enforcement, citing civil rights violation in the plaintiff’s 2014 dismissal.

According to the complaint, Metzler was wrongly fired because of his association with a third party known as a “whistleblower'' for speaking out on matters of public concern and for his own reporting of allegedly illegal practices.

The suit states Metzler, a licensed electrician, was employed by Kenner where he had a satisfactory employment record and that his termination happened because he provided evidence of another employee’s dishonesty, refused to sign off on a project he perceived as unsafe and had a friendship with government advocate Jack Zewe.

The complaint alleges no action was taken against an employee Metzler suspected of embezzlement but, rather, the Kenner Police Department commenced surveillance of Metzler himself, ostensibly to find evidence of wrongdoing in his daily work activity, the suit says.

Metzler alleges that reports against him were falsified and he was subjected to prejudicial treatment. When he was terminated March 25, 2014, the suit states, it was due to a single traffic incident wherein a crossing guard complained of his driving.

The suit alleges the defendants fabricated evidence and ignored actual circumstances and Metzler cites 1st and 14th Amendment rights violation.

Metzler seeks compensatory, special and punitive damages. He is represented by attorney Ronald L. Wilson of New Orleans.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana case number: 2:15-cv-00910-SM-KWR.

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