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Open Government Advocacy Project:
George Field's lawsuit against Robbinsville

Issue Detail:

In a May 17, 2010 e-mail, Deputy Township Clerk Beth Dupnak denied my request for a settlement agreement between Robbinsville Township and former Public Works Supervisor George Field. According to Dupnak, Mitch Jabobs, the Township's "consulting attorney" for Field's lawsuit, told her that "the settlement agreement has not been formalized, presented or approved by the Township Council as of yet." Accordingly, my request for the agreement was denied "as no such document exists." Yet, court records show that the case was "settled per letter 04/15/10." So, apparently, even though the case was marked settled over a month ago, the settlement has yet to be formalized and approved, thereby placing it out of reach of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request. By way of background, Field filed a discrimination and wrongful termination suit on September 26, 2007 against the Township, Mayor David Fried and then Business Administrator Mary Caffrey. Field claims in his suit that after he told Fried and Caffrey that he would need surgery, the pair met with him one July 20, 2005--the day before the surgery--and told him that "his position was being evaluated." On July 22, 2005, the day after his surgery, Field alleges that he was told that when he returned to work, his foreman would be in charge. Field, who turned 58 in 2005, claimed that the stated reason for his discharge was that "he did not follow orders." But, Field alleged, this was just a "pretext for discrimination based upon his age, disability and/or perceived disability." He claims that his duties were taken over by an employee named "Dino" who is "substantially younger than" Field. Field's lawsuit, the court record indicating that the case was settled on April 15, 2010, my OPRA request and Dupnak's denial are all on-line here.




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