Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lawsuit against city moves forward

December 22, 2005

Attorneys involved in a federal age-discrimination lawsuit filed by a Basehor police officer will discuss the timeline for the case in January.

In October, Sgt. Martin Cigich, a 19-year police department veteran and a former interim police chief, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court alleging that the city "illegally failed to hire (Cigich) on the basis of his age by denying him a promotion to police chief."

His attorney, Stephen Thornberry of Kansas City, Mo., and attorneys representing the city of Basehor are scheduled to discuss procedure of the case during a conference call Jan. 10.

Basehor city attorney John Thompson is representing the city and, as of Dec. 5, it appears he'll be assisted by additional counsel.

Michael Seck, an attorney from the law firm of Fisher, Patterson, Sayler and Smith in Overland Park, will join Thompson in mounting the city's defense. Seck is representing the interests of the city's insurance carrier, Thompson said.

Attorneys in the case also were scheduled to meet before Dec. 27 to "discuss the nature and basis of their claims and defenses" and to discuss the "use of mediation or other methods of alternative dispute resolution."

Cigich's complaint maintains that he "satisfactorily met the legitimate job expectations" for the police chief position, but that the "city recruited and hired a younger, less qualified individual outside of the existing police department staff."

The complaint also indicates "a management employee of the city made a derogatory, age-biased comment regarding seeking a young individual for the available position."

City officials have objected to the allegation that they city used age discrimination against the 55-year-old Cigich..

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