Turning Point Counseling – Whistle-Blower Act, Department of Corrections for Intentional Interference with a Business Relationship.

Turning Point Counseling – Whistle-Blower Act, Department of Corrections for Intentional Interference with a Business Relationship.

Whistle-blower actIN THE CIRCUIT COURT
OF THE NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA

LINDA J. MILLAY,

Plaintiff,
Case No.:
V.

TURNING POINT COUNSELING &
CONSULTING, INC. (Counts I & II)

and

OSCEOLA COUNTY, DEPARTMENT
OF CORRECTIONS (Count I & III)

Defendants,
________________________________ /

COMPLAINT
AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff, Linda Millay, by and through her undersigned attorney, sues Defendants Turning Point Counseling & Consulting, Inc. and Osceola County, Department of Corrections, and alleges:
JURISDICTION AND PARTIES
1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney’s fees.
2. Plaintiff, Linda J. Millay (hereinafter “Millay”), is and has been a resident of Florida, at all times material herein.
3. Defendant, Turning Point Counseling & Consulting, Inc. (herinafter “Turning Point”), is a Florida Corporation doing business in the state of Florida.
4. Defendant, Osceola County, Department of Corrections (hereinafter “Osceola County”) is an agency of Osceola County under the direction of the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners.
5. The unlawful employment practices alleged herein were committed in Osceola County, Florida.
6. Plaintiff, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida, was employed as a Program Director for Turning Point Counseling and Consulting at the Osceola County Jail in Kissimmee, Florida from approximately May 17, 1999 until June 9, 2000.
7. Plaintiff was terminated from her employment with Turning Point at the Osceola County Jail on or about June 9, 2000.
8. Plaintiff at all times material herein carried out her duties as Program Director and as an employee of Turning Point in a diligent, competent, and responsible manner.
9. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorneys and agreed to pay them a reasonable fee.
10. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
11. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
COUNT I
WHISTLE BLOWER ACTION
Plaintiff incorporates and re-alleges, as fully as if set forth herein, paragraphs 1 through 11 of this Complaint.
12. This action is brought pursuant to § 112.3187, Florida Statutes, Florida’s Whistle-blower Act.
13. Defendant, Turning Point, performs counseling services as an independent contractor as defined by § 112.3187, Florida Statutes, for Defendant Osceola County, Department of Corrections.
14. Defendant, Osceola County, Department of Corrections is an agency of Osceola County as defined by § 112.3187, Florida Statutes.
15. Plaintiff, Millay, was an employee as defined by § 112.3187, Florida Statutes.
16. On or about June 5, 2000, it was brought to Plaintiff’s attention that a Turning Point counselor supervised by Plaintiff and an employee of the Osceola County Jail were both suspected of having an inappropriate relationship of a sexual nature with an inmate at the Osceola County Jail.
17. Plaintiff reported the conduct to Osceola County, Department of Corrections authorities. The reported conduct violated policies and laws, including, but not limited to, Turning Point’s policies, Osceola Department of Corrections policies, Florida Statutes § 491.009(f) and § 455.624(u) and Fla. Admin. Code Ann. Chapter 64B4-10.
18. After Plaintiff brought the inappropriate conduct to the attention of the authorities at the Osceola County, Department of Corrections, they investigated the matter.
19. Directly as a result of Plaintiff reporting violations of law to the appropriate Osceola County, Department of Corrections authorities, Plaintiff was terminated without just cause by Joann Turner of Turning Point at the recommendation of Michael A. Tidwell, Director of the Osceola County, Department of Corrections.
20. Defendants violated § 112.3187 Florida Statutes, by dismissing Plaintiff for disclosing a violation of law being committed by an employee of Turning Point and an employee of the Osceola County, Department of Corrections, which created a substantial and specific danger to the public’s safety and welfare.
21. Defendants violated § 112.3187 Florida Statutes, by dismissing Plaintiff for disclosing a violation of the law, being committed by an employee of Turning Point and an employee of the Osceola County, Department of Corrections, which was a gross neglect of duty committed by the suspected employees.
22. The conduct of Defendants complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiff and accordingly, Plaintiff is entitled to recover punitive damages from Defendant Turing Point.
23. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe mental anguish and emotional distress, severe damage to her financial welfare, her employment prospects, her reputation in the community in which she lives and works, and among her professional peers by reason of Defendants’ violation of Plaintiff’s rights.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendants, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
a. Judgement for back pay, front pay, expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. Punitive damages against Turning Point subject to the requirements of § 768.72 Florida Statutes;
d. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
e. Such other relief as this court deems just and proper.

COUNT II
RETALIATORY PERSONNEL ACTION
24. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 3, 5 through 11, 16 through 19, 22 and 23, of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
25. This is an action for damages in violation of Sections 448.101 – 448.105, Florida Statutes.
26. Defendant, Turning Point is an employer under § 448.101, Florida Statutes, which has committed a “retaliatory personnel action” against Plaintiff.
27. Plaintiff was an employee under § 448.101, Florida Statutes.
28. Plaintiff was terminated because she reported to Osceola County, Department of Corrections authorities what she believed to be an unlawful relationship between a Turning Point employee and an inmate.
29. Plaintiff was terminated because she reported to Osceola County, Department of Corrections authorities what she believed to be an unlawful relationship between an employee of the Osceola County, Department of Corrections and an inmate.
30. The conduct the Plaintiff reported violated policies and laws, including, but not limited to, Turing Point’s Policy, Osceola County, Department of Corrections Policy, Florida Statutes § 491.009(f) and § 455.624(u) and Fla. Admin Code Ann Chapter 64B4-10.
31. Defendant Turning Point terminated Plaintiff for providing information to the Osceola County, Department of Corrections authorities regarding violations of the law.
32. Defendant Turning Point terminated Plaintiff for objecting to violations of the law.
33. The action taken by Defendant in terminating Plaintiff is prohibited under Section 448.102, Florida Statutes.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
a. Judgement for back pay, front pay, expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. Punitive damages against Turning Point subject to the requirements of § 768.72 Florida Statutes;
d. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
e. Such other relief as this court deems just and proper.

COUNT III
INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH
A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
34. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 11 and 16 through 19, 22 and 23, of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
35. This action is against Defendant, Osceola County, Department of Corrections for Intentional Interference with a Business Relationship.
36. Plaintiff had a business relationship with Turning Point as an employee during the time Plaintiff was employed with Turning Point.
37. Defendant, Osceola County, Department of Corrections was aware of Plaintiff’s business relationship as an employee of with Turning Point.
38. There was an intentional and unjustified interference with that relationship by the Osceola County, Department of Corrections when Director Michael Tidwell caused Plaintiff to be terminated form her employment with Turning Point.
39. Plaintiff suffered damages when she was terminated by Turing Point as a result of the actions of the Director of the Osceola County, Department of Corrections.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
a. Judgement for back pay, front pay, expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
d. Such other relief as this court deems just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff demands trial by jury of all issues herein triable by jury.

Dated this _____ day of December, 2000.

_____________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
WAYNE L. ALLEN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road
Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681

More Information: For more information, please see our employment law page
Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 12/05/2000

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