GREEN A legal case involving the city of Green, Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, former Green Law Director Diana Calta and former Green employee Nick Molnar will continue after a court denied a motion to dismiss the case.
The dispute is related to the negotiations between Molnar and city officials regarding his termination. The city is alleged to have agreed to rescind and destroy all copies of Molnar’s April 5, 2016, letter terminating his employment and accepting his resignation.
On April 20, 2016, a news reporter from WOIO (channel 19), requested to inspect a copy of Molnar’s employee file and subsequently requested a copy of the April 5, 2016, termination letter. The city initially refused to provide a copy of the letter it agreed to destroy until WOIO instituted a lawsuit for access to public records in the Ohio Court of Claims.
It is alleged city officials never notified Molnar of the WOIO lawsuit and when he learned the city was going to provide the letter following a ruling in favor of WOIO, he filed a complaint and a motion in Summit County Common Pleas Court for a temporary restraining order to prevent Green from releasing the letter and requiring the city to abide by its agreement.
The complaint by Molnar stated claims for breach of contract, negligence, injunctive relief, libel and a claim for punitive damages that alleged grossly negligent, reckless, wanton and willful conduct.
The city filed a motion to dismiss Molnar’s complaint claiming governmental immunity.
The Trial Court denied the motion and the city appealed in the Ninth District Court of Appeals, which sent the case back to trial to articulate its reasons for the denial. The Trial Court then reissued its denial of the city’s motion to dismiss, which Green appealed again to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, which issued its latest ruling denying the city’s motion to dismiss on July 31.
The Court stated that: “Green, Mr. Neugebauer, and Ms. Calta have argued that Mr. Molnar failed to plead or demonstrate an exception to their immunity defense, but have failed to show beyond a doubt that Mr. Molnar could prove no set of facts that would entitle him to relief in light of their affirmative defense of immunity.”
Both courts have stated Neugebauer and Calta can be held personally liable, meaning they could now be on their own for defense and may not be protected under the city’s insurance.
Molnar served as a service supervisor in Green and was promoted to deputy service director in 2015. He also served on City Council in his hometown, Macedonia, where he is now the mayor.
At the time of his termination, the city of Green said Molnar was terminated because of a "violation of city policy.”
Molnar said at the time a new administration was coming into Green and he wasn’t a part of it.
City officials declined to comment on the case and Molnar directed questions to his attorney, who did not return attempts seeking comment.