State Supreme Court judges have reversed a lower court's decision to toss a case an area law enforcement official filed against the county in June 2006.
The Supreme Court of Texas ruled that Larry Roccaforte's case against Jefferson County should not be dismissed as had been previously decided in Jefferson County District Court. Instead, in a mandate filed June 20, the court declared that the case should return to Jefferson County District Court for further proceedings.
Roccaforte filed suit against Jefferson County and his coworkers in June 2006, following his dismissal for allegedly failing to return to work after Hurricane Rita struck and for forging a court document. In his civil suit, Roccaforte seeks lost wages and benefits, in addition to mental anguish damages.
Roccaforte contends he lost his job "after media attention was directed to the ineffectiveness of federal and state representatives and the apparent lack of some local officers to be present in the area" after the hurricane hit Southeast Texas on Sept. 24, 2005.
Following his actions after the hurricane, Roccaforte was placed on 90 days probation and was demoted, but was not fired until after Jan. 5, 2006.
On that day, Chief Deputy Jeff Greenway ordered a constable to spy on Roccaforte, who allegedly remained in his home from 7:57 a.m. until 1:53 p.m. when he was supposed to be on duty.
Roccaforte contends the allegations are not true and produced a court document proving he served a citizen at 9 a.m. on Jan. 5.
Greenway argues that the document is a forgery and used it as grounds to fire Roccaforte.
Roccaforte is being represented by Larry Watts, who argues that Greenway fired Roccaforte on bogus accusations. In addition, Watts says the incident may have prevented Roccaforte, who is currently working at a refinery, from gaining employment at another law enforcement agency.
Case No. D177-131