In the media:
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly: "Deputy clerk argued she was scapegoated by manager - Plaintiff said she was falsely prosecuted after reporting stolen funds" 02/11/2015
- Oxford Leader: "$300K settlement proposed in Paad's suit against village" 10/15/2014 by CJ Carnacchio
Oxford Leader: "'Great victory for Pat Paad,' attorney says Ex-village employee's lawsuit survives summary judgment, will proceed to jury trial" 06/18/2014 by CJ Carnacchio
Oxford Leader: "Paad files suit against village, two officials" 01/02/2013 by CJ Carnacchio
Oxford Leader: "Not guilty! Pat Paad acquitted of all embezzlement charges against her" 05/02/2012 by CJ Carnacchio
Type of Action: 42 USC §1983, First Amendment Retaliation; State and Federal "Malicious Prosecution" claims
Description of Case:
FORMER VILLAGE OF OXFORD CLERK WHO WAS FALSELY ACCUSED AND PROSECUTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT SETTLES CASE FOR $300,000
Plaintiff, Marion "Pat" Paad, lived the Kafkaesque nightmare of being falsely accused of embezzlement, losing her job and going through a criminal trial with the prospect of facing years in prison. Plaintiff was Defendants’ Deputy Clerk, and became aware that taxpayers' money was being misappropriated and/or stolen. Plaintiff went outside her chain of command to report this to the Village Council. Individual Village Manager Defendant Joe Young, for reasons only known to himself, then attempted to deflect attention away from himself by fabricating "probable cause" to not only get Plaintiff fired but to have her prosecuted criminally. Specifically, individual Defendant Joe Young scapegoated Pat Paad by lying to the police authorities, falsely claiming Plaintiff "confessed" to the crime, even though the local police captain whom individual Defendant Joe Young hand-picked to be present as a witness denied that he had heard any such confession! Plaintiff always denied that she made any type of confession of any sort. Nevertheless, Plaintiff was criminally prosecuted based on the false, phony and fraudulent story concocted by individual Defendant Joe Young, which included the complete lie that she had "confessed" to the crime.
Plaintiff was now jobless, broke and not only dealing with the humiliating media coverage in her local community, but also facing a felony criminal trial. Criminal defense Attorney Denis McCarthy showed through his skillful cross-examination that Defendants' story was discombobulated, fragmented and just plain incredible. Pat Paad was quickly acquitted of all criminal charges by the jury.
However, by this point, Pat Paad's whole life had been destroyed. She then brought this civil action seeking not only financial justice but to clear her name. Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment, relying primarily on the Garcetti, supra, defense that her reports of Defendants' misappropriation of public monies was not First Amendment protected speech because it was part of her job duties. This defense failed, however, for the reason that the post-Garcetti case of Handy-Clay v City of Memphis, 695 F3d 531 (2012), was directly on point and carried the day. Just as the plaintiff in Handy-Clay, supra, had done, Plaintiff Pat Paad complained to the Village Council in this case. Additionally, Defendants' MSJ regarding the malicious prosecution claim was defeated because the case precedent cited by Defendants to the District Court actually supported Plaintiff's position!
An attempt at private facilitation was not fruitful and the case did not appear as if it could possibly settle. However, at the Settlement Conference just prior to trial, Judge Steeh himself became involved and was instrumental in effecting a $300,000.00 settlement.
This case is significant because it is an example of how the "Garcetti/job duties" defense can be overcome, and because it should clear Pat Paad’s name and reputation with most thinking people.
Injuries Alleged: Lost income, mental anguish, emotional distress
Name of Case: Paad v. Village of Oxford, et al
Court: Federal District Court
Case No: 12-15574-CV
Tried Before: N/A
Name of Judge: George Caram Steeh
Verdict/Settlement: $300,000.00 settlement
Special Damages: N/A
Date of Verdict: N/A
Key to Winning: Defeating Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, especially Defendants’ Garcetti v. Cabello's, 547 US 410 (2006) defense to the First Amendment claim.
Attorney for Plaintiff: Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, Jarrett M. Pabst and Denis McCarthy
Attorney for Defendant: Withheld