A decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals means Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick could soon find himself in the defendant’s chair in a whistleblower lawsuit. It's the latest chapter in an on-going legal battle, that began in December of 2001.
Five years ago, Gammick was building a suit alleging sexual abuse of two children. The charges were based on the findings of a Cares Nurse at the children's school.
The trial never went to court, but a deputy who spoke out against the evidence says his actions landed him in the D.A.’s crosshairs.
While investigating the case, former Washoe County Deputy Reno Botello discovered there was no evidence of sexual penetration or abuse of the children.
Officer Botello spoke up against the case, and alleges the District Attorney's office told him to keep quiet about the evidence.
Botello says the conflict resulted in the loss of his job.
The former deputy filed a lawsuit against Gammick, but the D.A. claimed he has "absolute immunity" in the events that led to Botello's unemployment. But that argument has been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
So Botello's lawsuit against the Gammick will go forward. His attorney says they look forward to their day in court.
Botello is suing for unspecified damages over the loss of his job and credibility, but so far the county’s risk manager estimates that more than $200,000 has been spent by the county, fighting the suit.
The trial date has not yet been set, but is expected to take place in five to seven months.
Botello and his attorney haven’t make clear of exactly how much they are seeking in damages, but Terri Keyser-Cooper tell KOLO 8 News that whatever the jury would award to Botello, would likely be less than the amount of money the county will spend fighting the suit when all is said and done.
Kendra Kostelecky, KOLO 8 News