Judge won’t toss ex-Capitol Police chief’s wrongful-termination suit
August 23, 2013
A Carson District Judge has refused to dismiss the most serious claims in former Capitol Police Chief Tom Navin's wrongful-termination lawsuit.
Navin claims he was wrongfully fired for failing a physical test he was legally exempt from taking.
He was terminated March 15 at the order of Public Safety Director Chris Perry because he was unable to complete his physical agility test to maintain his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification. While doing pushups as part of the test, he re-injured his shoulder, tearing the rotator cuff.
District Judge James Wilson dismissed several of the claims for damages in the lawsuit including breach of good faith, creating a hostile work environment and violating public policy. He also dismissed the Department of Public Safety and Capitol Police from the accusation that they were part of a conspiracy to fire Navin.
But several other claims remain, including the argument over whether Navin was required to take the physical test and maintain his POST certification.
"The issue of whether Perry had the right to require the plaintiff maintain a POST certification in spite of the Legislature determining and the chiefs of the divisions are not required to has not been fully briefed and the court is not going to rule on it in connection with this motion," according to Wilson's order, dated Aug. 20.
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Navin's suit charges that Perry and then-Deputy Chief of Public Safety Jim Wright, now the director, "agreed and intended to force the plaintiff to take the POST certification examination knowing he had an open, permanent partial impairment disability claim and that, as a result, the plaintiff suffered damages."
Navin's complaint cites NRS289.550 as exempting him from taking the test. The state is arguing the director has the authority to require division chiefs be POST-certified under NRS480.150.
The ruling means Navin's attorney, Ken McKenna, and the Attorney General's Office will have to brief that issue in detail for the judge.