KENNEWICK — A Franklin County sheriff's deputy is suing the county and his boss, Sheriff Jim Raymond, for discrimination, retaliation and civil rights violations.
Deputy George Rapp, currently assigned to the master control room at the Franklin County jail, alleges he's been mistreated since an arbitrator ordered the county to reinstate him after he was fired three years ago.
The case was originally filed in Walla Walla Superior Court in April. It was transferred to federal court in June because of the civil rights claims. Now, the county is asking a judge to throw out the case.
In his complaint, Rapp paints a picture of a lonely, isolated workplace he claims is meant to drive him to quit.
The county counters that Rapp was fired for legitimate reasons and that he brought his troubles on himself. It did not dispute his right to appeal his termination.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant authorized the county's Seattle attorney to explain what led to the lawsuit, including the misconduct allegations that preceded Rapp's termination.
Public agencies rarely comment on lawsuits against them. Andrew Cooley, who is representing Franklin County, said it was important to tell the county's side.
"There is an audience for this," said Cooley, of Keating, Bucklin & McCormack. "That includes county officials and county residents. They would like to understand from the county's perspective what the case is about. It doesn't serve that interest to say, 'We don't comment on pending litigation.'"
Rapp is represented by Andrea Clare and George Telquist of Richland-based Telquist McMillin Clare.
The firm declined to discuss the case.
Sheriff's deputy for 7 years
Rapp joined the agency in 2009 and was terminated in May 2016.
His collective bargaining agreement gave Rapp the right to appeal to an arbitrator.
In September 2016, following a series of hearings, the arbitrator ordered Franklin County to reinstate Rapp and give him back pay, saying the decision to terminate didn't meet the bargaining agreement's standards for "just cause."