Sat, Dec 10 2011 03:50 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité
A South Bay judge today dismissed a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination by the city of Chula Vista and a councilman.
Judge William Canon dismissed the legal action by former city council aide Shari Watson, who claimed she was wrongfully terminated by Rudy Ramirez in September 2010.
Watson claimed Ramirez fired her because she would not deposit a check paid by Cox Communications into an account for the International Friendship Games, a pet project Ramirez has organized for several years.
In her complaint, Watson said she believed the payment had been made in error.
“We believe the city terminated her for an illegal reason,” said Watson’s attorney Josh Gruenberg.
Watson said that when she raised concerns about a possible overpayment to Ramirez, he told her to deposit the check.
When she didn’t because she told him she believed it would be unethical, she said Ramirez terminated her over the phone.
Ramirez claims that Watson was fired for her “inability to take direction” and that her claim against him was not legitimate.
“I was always confident that the city had done nothing wrong so it was just a matter of going through the proceedings, waiting for the vindication and trusting in the system,” Ramirez said after the decision.
Gruenberg said his client was an exemplary employee by all accounts.
“This woman is conscientious and careful,” he said. “She sought help from human resources … She did the right thing.”
He said he thought the judge’s decision was wrong.
“It’s a travesty,” he said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to get her justice...”
Senior Assistant City Attorney Bart Miesfeld said the city will seek legal fees.
Gruenberg said he plans to appeal.
© 2009 The Star-News