Engel & Martin, LLC wins case on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council Inc.
On May 17th, 2022 Engel and Martin, LLC won a victory in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council Inc. (FOP/OLC).
The Plaintiff, Fazya Panno, was a patrol officer working for Cleveland MetroParks. She “engaged in a tumultuous personal relationship” with a police officer from another department. She alleged that this other officer continued to harass her, including by filing a complaint of misconduct with her employer “solely for the purpose of revenge.” Cleveland Metroparks opened an investigation into the alleged misconduct and, ultimately, Panno was placed on administrative leave and then terminated.
Panno alleged various unfair practices by FOP/OLC in connection with her termination, even though the FOP/OLC helped negotiate a settlement permitting Plaintiff to resign in lieu of termination. She later alleged that FOP/OLC joined in a conspiracy to have her fired. In the lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Panno accused the union of failing to adequately represent her during disciplinary proceedings.
The court dismissed the claims against FOP/OLC. The court found that the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court does not have jurisdiction over matters where the State Employers Relation Board has jurisdiction. In other words, the case was dismissed because any complaints about representation should be handled by SERB.
Attorney Joshua Engel led the defense. He said, “This case reaffirms that a union cannot be dragged into a private dispute simply by asserting that the union was part of a ‘civil conspiracy.’ FOP/OLC does important work representing law enforcement officers throughout Ohio and there was simply no reason why the union would have any desire to cause a former officer harm.”