604 South Jefferson Ave, Saginaw, MI 48607

Ex-police chief: Township’s firing was unjust

Town manager took action after report of malfeasance


Lawyers’ Weekly — Plaintiff Brian Booker was chief of police for Defendant Buena Vista Township for nearly seven years. He filed a police report at a citizen’s request. The report named defendant Bregitte Braddock, then-township manager, in a possible malfeasance scheme related to the citizen’s claim that Braddock had “tricked” her out of surplus township property in favor of Braddock’s friend.

Shortly after Braddock learned that Booker had filed the report, she fired him Feb. 29, 2012,

Plaintiff argued that defendants violated the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, which prohibits termination because an employee reports suspected criminal behavior.

Defendants contended that plaintiff was terminated for “poor performance” exactly one year after he signed an at-will contract after having been “counseled” when he allegedly failed to improve.

Plaintiff’s counsel obtained substantial documents in discovery and took multiple depositions of the defense witnesses. After being confronted with many of the documents, plaintiff’s counsel said Braddock repeatedly contradicted herself in her rationales for plaintiff’s termination.

Plaintiff’s counsel also deposed many of plaintiff’s co-employees and his subordinates at the police department, including the officer who replaced plaintiff. In addition plaintiff impeached defendants’ claim that plaintiff was a poor performer.

The case settled on the eve of trial for $550,000.

Type of action: Whistleblowers’ Protection Act

Type of injuries: Loss of position as chief of police with resulting wage and noneconomic loss

Name of case: Booker v. Charter Township of Buena Vista

Court/Case no./Date: Saginaw County Circuit Court; 12-015950-CZ-4; Dec. 6, 2013

Name of judge: Gerald D. Lostracco

Highest offer: $550,000

Settlement amount: $550,000

Case evaluation: $400,000

Most helpful expert: Calvin Hoerneman, economic expert, Midland

Attorney for plaintiff: Debra A. Freid

Attorney for defendant: Audrey J. Forbush

Leave a comment

Freid, Gallagher, Taylor & Associates wants to reassure our clients that they remain our highest priority during this pandemic.  We are alert to the developing picture regarding this health crisis and have taken steps to make certain the health and safety of our clients and of our employees and their families come first as we continue to work for you.  Please know that, although we are working remotely, we are working every day to move forward for you.  Our office is equipped with technology that allows us to effectively and safely handle matters for our clients, while preserving privacy and securing data.  Our phones and email are staffed and we continue to aggressively push forward on behalf of our clients.  For new clients, please know that we are continuing to do consultations, free of charge, by telephone or videoconference.

We know that this is a particularly difficult time for our clients and we are thinking of you. Please stay safe and be well.