Court Filings

In federal filings, attorneys call retaliation claims ‘vague’

By Shea Johnson, Staff Writer
Posted:    Feb. 15, 2016 at 2:19 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2016 at 5:25 PM

RIVERSIDE — Attorneys for a local wastewater agency and Hesperia city councilman have filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by the agency’s finance director which accuses them of retaliation after she said she sought to expose corruption.

In the Feb. 9 filing, representatives for Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority and Councilman Russ Blewett say Angela Valles’ accusations are vague, baseless and don’t demonstrate proof of a systemic problem.

“Plaintiff has not brought a legally cognizable theory against (VVWRA General Manager Logan) Olds or Blewett and she has insufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory against VVWRA,” the filing reads. “The claims are so vague and ambiguous that Defendants’ cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading.”

Attorneys also filed a separate motion Feb. 9 to strike portions of Valles’ complaint regarding punitive damages, contending that she “is barred as a matter of law from seeking” such compensation from VVWRA, a public entity.

A hearing on both motions is scheduled March 21, federal court records show. A message left with Valles’ attorney Jimmy Mettias was not immediately returned Monday.

Valles sued the agency and Blewett in November, pointing to a far-reaching political power structure which she said functioned as a mechanism to muffle her attempts to reveal misconduct at the agency, including possible sexual harassment of a “young female clerk” at a work-related conference in Nevada.

Among Valles’ most serious claims: she filed a sexual harassment complaint against former Hesperia Mayor and one-time VVWRA commissioner Thurston “Smitty” Smith in December 2010; Blewett publicly attacked her credibility and disparaged Hispanics and women; and San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood improperly received $560,000 for his staffing company from VVWRA while “an inactive member of the board.”

To read expanded article, click here.