Texas City submits motion to dismiss former firefighter's lawsuit, Galveston judge schedules hearing

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jun 6, 2013

GALVESTON - The city of Texas City will have a hearing on its motion to dismiss a former firefighter's lawsuit, recent court records show.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss set the hearing for 9 a.m., June 13. 

Harris County resident Jamil Saifi sued the city in March in response to what he claims is an unlawful discharge.

He alleges Texas City committed breach of contract when it terminated him from its fire department in December 2011.

The defendant hired Saifi on Dec. 17, 2007, and he subsequently entered into a conditions of employment agreement which stated that he must pass a paramedic certification-related placement examination before becoming a Texas City firefighter.

Though he did not pass any test prior to starting his employment, the original petition states, Texas City Fire Chief Joseph A. Gorman ordered the plaintiff to commence paramedic training in April 2010.

Saifi satisfactorily completed the training, but proved unsuccessful with the national registry numerous times.

The suit argues the respondent dismissed the complainant “without just cause” since the agreement did not apply to him, insisting “reasonable efforts to resolve this illegal act have been rejected or ignored.”

It adds the city admitted that Saifi's discharge “was not for any disciplinary purpose” hence “just cause does not exist to support his termination.”

In its motion filed April 12, the respondent says it aims to have the litigation closed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Texas City stresses the complainant has no justiciable interests and his allegations of civil service violations are waived under the collective bargaining agreement's conditions of employment revision.

The motion additionally argues that no jurisdiction exists because the city has not waived sovereign immunity from the suit.

The accompanying original answer insists the respondent acted in good faith "at all times."
Attorney Bettye Lynn of Loss Ross Smith & Gannaway, LLP in Fort Worth is representing Texas City.

Case No. 13-CV-436

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