All claims in the case involving former Burbank Police Lt. Omar Rodriguez and the city, including allegations that he was wrongfully terminated, were dropped in federal court Thursday.
Spokesman Drew Sugars said Rodriguez and the city also agreed to the dismissal of a cross complaint filed against him by Burbank in state court. Rodriguez also agreed he would stop his attempt to get his job back.
“At this point, it’s a done deal,” Sugars said. “It’s a good day for the city. It allows the city to move forward. There is really no case here. That’s what we always contended. We can put it behind us. We don’t need to spend any more time on this matter, or money.”
It remained unclear what prompted discussions to drop all the claims. Sugars said the “why” would have to be answered by Rodriguez.
Kenneth Yuwiler, Rodriguez’s attorney, could not be reached for comment, nor could Thomas Brown, who represented Rodriguez in his federal case.
Rodriguez was part of a multi-plaintiff lawsuit filed against the city in May 2009 in which three Latino officers, including Rodriguez, a black officer and an Armenian officer alleged harassment and discrimination based on ethnicity and gender, among other claims.
The 22-year veteran was terminated in April 2010. He also claimed he was placed on administrative leave in retaliation for complaining of an improper relationship between former Police Chief Tim Stehr and the officers union.
Rodriguez, along with two other officers, eventually was dropped from the state case by a judge. But the city filed a cross complaint in October 2009 alleging that Rodriguez took confidential personnel documents from the Police Department.
In April 2011, Rodriguez filed a separate suit in federal court, claiming his firing was a violation of his civil rights.
A settlement in the state case may have been brewing for some time. A document filed with the court June 29 by Lawrence Michaels, who represented Burbank in the case, stated that he “made a proposed offer to counsel for Mr. Rodriguez.”
Michaels, who works for an outside firm, referred calls to the city attorney’s office through his receptionist when called about the matter.
Burbank City Atty. Amy Albano, however, said at the time that no settlement offer had been discussed with Rodriguez, and that the document was not accurate.
Although Rodriguez returned all the documents, Albano said he still broke the law by taking them in the first place.
Sugars said that because the federal lawsuit was dismissed and because Rodriguez decided to stop his efforts to get his job back, the city then decided to drop the cross complaint about the documents. The City Council had already authorized dismissal in the cross complaint, Sugars added.
“It was understood that if Rodriguez dropped his complaints, the city would drop its cross complaint,” Sugars said.
Neither side planned to recoup attorney fees or other legal costs, he added.