Judge tosses retaliation lawsuit against Jeffco sanitation district

Colorado Politics: A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against a Jefferson County special district by its former lawyer, who alleged the elected officials retaliated against her when she tried to warn the public about their malfeasance.

Mary Joanne “Jo” Deziel Timmins was general and litigation counsel for the Green Mountain Water and Sanitation District for approximately 18 months between February 2018 and August 2019. She sued the three board members who voted to fire her plus a local activist who reportedly defamed her on his blog.

But last month, U.S. District Court Judge Charlotte N. Sweeney found Timmins did not have a viable claim that her government employer retaliated against her when Timmins exercised her First Amendment free speech rights. Specifically, Timmins had not made it past the first threshold: that speech is typically not constitutionally protected if it is part of the employee’s official duties.

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