Former deputy sues sheriff, city, claims character defamed in suit | NevadaAppeal.com

Former deputy sues sheriff, city, claims character defamed in suit

by F.T. Norton
ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com

A former Carson City deputy has filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Ken Furlong and the city, alleging Furlong has been defaming her to prospective employers since she left the department in 2008.

In the complaint filed in Carson City District Court on Monday, Paula Andrews claims when she applied for a position with the Reno Tahoe Airport Police in July 2008, as part of her background check, investigators contacted Furlong, “who made false and defamatory statements” about her.

Andrews said that, despite being previously informed that the background check was an “obvious formality,” she did not get the position.

The complaint goes on to state that in December 2008, Andrews applied for a position with the Washoe Tribal Police and was told by Capt. Richard Varner he “wanted to hire her and was making a position for her.”

Then, after Varner allegedly spoke with Furlong, Furlong “made false and defamatory statements” about Andrews, the suit claims, and she was not hired.

“Such statements were made with the express intention of preventing plaintiff from obtaining new employment and accused her of being untruthful, dishonest and unable to perform the duties required of her,” the complaint states.

What Furlong allegedly said was not included in the complaint.

Andrews said Carson City “ratified the actions of Furlong and failed to take any measures to insure that such conduct ceased.”

Andrews asks for compensatory damages in excess of $10,000 and punitive damages not yet determined.

Andrews was a deputy with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office from August 2003 to February 2008.

She said in the complaint she “continues her attempts to gain employment with a law enforcement agency, and is currently not employed by a law enforcement agency.”

Furlong would not speak specifically to the lawsuit, but did say, “We have very strict policies on the way we manage employment process and we adhere to them constantly.”

But Furlong, who is up for re-election, went on to question the timing of the lawsuit.

“Clearly to me there is a political motivation behind this and I am not going to go there. I am not going to stoop to their level and I am not about to allow this to change my course of action. I am not going to engage in nasty politics,” he said.