Rockville appealing court order to release part of personnel report -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated on Jan. 7, 2014.

A judge has ordered the city of Rockville to produce portions of a confidential report of an investigation into employee complaints so it can be used as evidence in a lawsuit, but the city is not yet ready to reveal any of it.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon V. Burrell ordered the city to let plaintiff Donald Dorsey, who is suing the city, see portions of the summaries of interviews with five people included in the report, according to court records. Attorneys for the city have filed a notice of appeal.

Dorsey, a Rockville public works employee, sued the city last year, saying he was discriminated against because he is black. Dorsey’s lawsuit came a few months after the city said it would not release a report by Saul Ewing LLP, the firm Rockville hired to investigate employee complaints and review its personnel policies. The firm conducted more than 40 interviews as part of its investigation, but found no unlawful conduct, city officials said. The investigation followed a series of articles that appeared in the Sentinel beginning in September 2011.

In court documents, Dorsey’s lawyers argued that the Ewing report should be part of the evidence in Dorsey’s case.

“One element of a hostile environment case is pervasiveness,” they wrote.

Dorsey also has filed an affidavit with the court, saying he met with Ewing lawyers who told him his statements would be held in confidence unless the court subpoenaed information, according to court documents.

The city has resisted releasing any portion of the report, saying in court filings that it contains confidential personnel records, it is not relevant to Dorsey’s case and it is protected under attorney-client privilege.

Another discrimination lawsuit, filed by former city employee Courtney L. Morgan, is making its way through U.S. District Court. A lawsuit alleging harassment and negligence, brought by former city employee Charles Baker in Montgomery County Circuit Court, has been dismissed.

A jury trial for Dorsey’s case is scheduled for May. He is seeking $600,000 in damages, plus lost pay and benefits and attorney’s fees, according to his complaint.