Jefferson County, JP seek summary judgment in whistleblower suit

David Yates Nov. 18, 2013, 11:22am

Jefferson County and a justice of the peace are seeking summary judgment in a whistleblower suit brought by a former clerk, who alleges she was terminated for reporting an alteration of governmental records. 

As previously reported, Lisa Schaver Harris filed the suit against the county and Justice of the Peace Precinct 7 Brad Burnett on Nov. 1, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on Jan. 10 the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on Oct. 7, arguing there is not evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim.

A hearing on the motion was held Nov. 14 in the office of Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, but no ruling was made, according to a courthouse official.

The lawsuit alleges that Schaver was employed as chief clerk for Burnett. She claims she was terminated after she reported that Burnett allegedly altered government records.

“Defendants violated plaintiff’s rights to protected speech when she was terminated for having reported Burnett’s altering death certificates as related to causes of death to the third persons (Carey) Erickson (human resources director) and the District Attorney,” the suit states.

“Defendants are not entitled to any immunities … having acted with callous disregard of the rights of plaintiff.”

Schaver is asking the court to reinstate her to her position and grant an injunction against the county prohibiting officials from violating her rights.

Missouri City attorney Larry Watts represents her.

The defendants are represented by Chris Portner of the Beaumont law firm Portner Bond.

Case No. A193-540

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