November 28, 2014
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A former fire battalion chief for the Nevada Division of Forestry in Elko will get a chance in U.S. District Court in Reno early next year to try to prove he was illegally fired three years ago in retaliation for blowing the whistle on improper agency activities.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jones set a Jan. 7 trial date for Keith Westengard's lawsuit against the state.
Westengard alleges his First Amendment rights were violated after he told Elko County commissioners about improper management of firefighting resources in Elko County.
Jones denied the state's motion to dismiss the case earlier this year. He ruled there was enough evidence to suggest Westengard's supervisors acted "vindictively and apparently illegally ... in plotting to destroy" his professional reputation with false evaluations.
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