SBCO Seal

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 – 10:30 a.m.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a, yet-to-be-announced, settlement with a Sheriff’s Deputy, who was targeted, and terminated, for exercising his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), in order to care for his ill mother.

The county, after a prolonged and painful course of discovery, which called into question the credibility of several sworn and non-sworn employees, and elected officials, has agreed to settle with Travis Bauer.

The pending settlement, likely upwards of $1 million, removed the spectre of a federal jury trial, scheduled to have started on July 2. A trial that, according to insiders, would have transcended the realm of a circus.

An indicator of just how badly the case could have gone for the county is the Plaintiff’s Proposed Special Verdict Form.

Bauer was able to thoroughly substantiate a systematic course and pattern of retaliatory conduct by Sheriff’s Department personnel in violation of federal law. It should be noted that U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips denied three attempts by the county to dismiss, or delay, the trial.

The Notice of Settlement, filed June 28, in U.S. District Court in Riverside, indicates county supervisors will approve the settlement at its July 23 meeting, but no later than August 1.

I have to admit. It’s rare for an employee to take such an action, and see it through.

The Second Amended Complaint for Damages and Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Contentions of Fact and Law read like a sordid tale not untypical in the county organization. A tale that would have likely proven even costlier, especially if told in front of a federal jury.

The bigger question?

When the amount of settlement is disclosed, following a closed session meeting of county supervisors, will the amount be a driver for other such actions?

The case, Travis Bauer v. County of San Bernardino et al, Case No.: 5:12-cv-00501-VAP-DTB, is in the U.S. District Court, Central District for California