Benezra and Culver Win Another First Amendment Case

On July 16, 2014, Benezra & Culver won another First Amendment case. In that case, the firm represented Sergeant Patrick Cillo, who was a 29- year and outstanding police officer at the Greenwood Village Police Department. In 2007, he formed a union. Following the formation of the union, the Defendants repeatedly retaliated against Sergeant Cillo and the union. Ultimately, Sergeant Cillo was fired in September 2009 for a minor supervisory failure. The evidence demonstrated that non-union members who were more involved in the same incident received minimal punishment. In addition, more egregious violations committed by non-union members in other incidents went virtually unpunished.

The road to trial was arduous. Sergeant Cillo’s internal appeal in 2009 was denied, and Benezra & Culver started the federal lawsuit shortly thereafter. The case encountered another road bump when the Federal District Court Judge granted summary judgment in 2012 and dismissed Sergeant Cillo’s case. Despite these setbacks, Benezra & Culver successfully appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and in December of 2013, the Appellate Court agreed that Mr. Cillo’s case should go to trial.

Following a six-day trial, the jury quickly returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Patrick Cillo, awarding economic damages in the amount of $240,000. Moreover, the jury found that the Defendants acted with evil motive or reckless indifference to Mr. Cillo’s rights and awarded punitive damages totaling $125,000. Sergeant Cillo is also entitled to the reimbursement of roughly $630,000 in attorney fees and costs and another $29,000 in pre-judgment interest.

About Benezra & Culver

Benezra & Culver, P.C. is an A/V rated Colorado law firm recognized in 2006 in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell. The firm's practice emphasizes all areas of employment law, litigation and counseling for employees and employers. Among the substantive areas of specialization are the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended ("Title VII"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 ("Section 1981"), the Civil Rights Act of 1872 ("Section 1983"), the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), the False Claims Act ("FCA"), the Occupational Health and Safety Act ("OSHA"), the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Act ("WARN"), the Employee Polygraph Act ("EPA") and judicially created wrongful discharge claims. In addition the firm provides representation to state and federal employees before state agencies and before the Merit Systems Protection Board. The firm is a full service litigation firm, including trial and appellate representation. Benezra & Culver also handles criminal cases in federal and state court at the trial and appellate levels.

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Posted in Employment Law, Representative Cases