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IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR JOHNSON COUNTY

JAKUB SCHMITZ, ) CASE NO. LACV079070


)
Plaintiff, )
)
vs. ) AMENDED PETITION AT LAW AND
) FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION
CITY OF UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, ) AND REQUEST FOR HEARING
LOUISE FROM and KRIS LYON, )
)
Defendants. )

COMES NOW, the Plaintiff Jakub Schmitz, by counsel, and for his cause of

action against the City of University Heights, Louise From and Kris Lyon hereby states

as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. This is a claim in law and equity for a temporary injunction pursuant to

Iowa Code 70A.29(3)(b) and Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure 1.1501-1.1511 and for

wages and other damages alleging violations of whistleblower protections for

employees of political subdivisions, Iowa Code 70A.29.

JURISDICTION

2. This court has jurisdiction of this claim pursuant to Iowa Code 70A.29

and Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.1505.


PARTIES

3. Plaintiff Jakub Schmitz (Schmitz) worked for the City of University

Heights from on or about August 15, 2015, through May 17, 2017. Schmitz has been

employed as a police officer.

4. The City of University Heights (University Heights) is a political

subdivision within the State of Iowa as the term is utilized in Iowa Code Chapter 70A.29.

5. During the relevant time period, Louise From was the Mayor of the City of

University Heights.

6. During the relevant time period, Kris Lyon (Lyon) was the interim police

chief of the City of University Heights and provided notice to Schmitz of his termination.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

7. Schmitz worked a shift starting at 7 p.m. on May 10, 2017, and worked

until 7 a.m. on May 11, 2017.

8. At the beginning of the May 10 shift, Lyon provided Schmitz a written

counseling.

9. The written counseling stated, in part, if you do not show improvement in

the next four weeks you will receive a written reprimand. Further disrespect for the

department will result in a temporary suspension from duty. See Exhibit A.

10. At 8:54 p.m. on May 10, Schmitz sent a text message to other University

Heights officers, including Lyon, stating Schmitz had received complaints about an

officer/officers campaigning for Kris Lyon as chief while on duty and escorting city

officials around to do so. The citizens have questioned whether this is part of their

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duties and why this is occurring. If I hear anymore about this I will feel obligated to take

it to higher command as a potential issue. See Exhibit B.

11. At 9:00 p.m. on May 10, Lyon sent Schmitz an email stating Blackmail

and threats are not an appropriate response to simple counseling. See Exhibit C.

12. After the May 10 - May 11 shift, Schmitz was next scheduled to work

May 16 - May 17. Lyon directed Schmitz to take the May 16-17 shift off.

13. On or before May 12, 2017, Lyon made the determination to terminate

Schmitzs employment. See Exhibit D.

14. On May 17, 2017, Schmitz arrived to a morning meeting as directed by

Lyon. Lyon terminated his employment without providing any written or verbal

explanation for the termination.

15. Subsequent to the May 17, 2017, termination, University Heights

reinstated Schmitz to employment with pay but directed him not to attend work.

16. In July 2017, counsel for University Heights manifested to Schmitz an

intent to terminate Schmitzs employment a second time with a new date of termination

on or about July 31, 2017.

COUNT I

VIOLATION OF IOWA CODE 70A.29

22. Plaintiff incorporates by reference Paragraphs 1 through 21 of this Petition

as if fully set forth herein.

23. Schmitz reasonably believed on May 10, 2017, that the practice of officers

campaigning while on duty with city officials for the appointment of Lyon as permanent

police chief was unlawful under state and federal laws and regulations and/or an abuse

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of authority. In particular, Acting Chief Lyon and officers at his direction or with his

knowledge appeared to be violating Iowa Code 721.2(4), (5) and 721.4.

24. Schmitz communicated this belief to the acting police chief of University

Heights and other law enforcement officer of University Heights.

25. In their role as University Heights Police officers, the recipients of the

communication described in Paragraph 10 were part of a law enforcement agency

within the meaning of that term in Iowa Code 70A.29.

26. In his role as Acting Police Chief for University Heights, Lyon was an

official of that political subdivision within the meaning of that term in Iowa Code

70A.29.

27. In response to Schmitzs attempts to end the practice described in

Paragraph 10, Lyon made the decision to terminate Schmitzs employment in violation

of Iowa Code 70A.29.

28. As a result of the wrongful termination on May 17, 2017, Plaintiff has

suffered damages.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests the following relief:

a. Defendants conduct be declared in violation of Plaintiffs rights

under Iowa Code 70A.29;

b. Plaintiff be reinstated to his employment with the City of University

Heights;

c. Plaintiff be awarded back pay, front pay, compensatory damages

and any other equitable relief deemed appropriate by the Court;

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d. Plaintiff be awarded attorneys fees and costs in prosecuting this

action;

e. An order be entered permanently enjoining Defendants from

violations of Iowa Code 70A.29.

COUNT II

WRONGFUL DISCHARGE IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY EXCEPTION

TO AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT

29. Plaintiff incorporates by reference Paragraphs 1 through 28 of this Petition

as if fully set forth herein.

30. Schmitz was terminated by Acting Chief Lyon after reporting to law

enforcement agency actions by University Heights police officers which he reasonably

believed constituted non-felonious misconduct under Iowa Code 721.2, misconduct

under Iowa Code 721.4, violations of University Heights policy, and/or an abuse of

authority as defined in Iowa Code 70A.29. In making the report to his superiors at

University Heights and threatening to bring the issue to higher authorities if the wrongful

conduct did not cease, Schmitz was blowing the whistle on illegal activities uncovered in

the workplace.

31. Schmitzs termination violates well-established public policy of the State of

Iowa as defined by statute, regulation and judicial decision of a public policy would be

undermined and jeopardized under the circumstances of this case.

32. Schmitz was discharged as a result of his participation in protected

activity, and Defendants proffered reasons for any discipline are pretextual and

otherwise without legitimate reasons to justify discipline or termination.

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33. Defendants discipline and/or termination of Schmitz constitutes wrongful

discharge in violation of the public policies of this State.

34. As a proximate cause of Defendants wrongful termination and/or

discipline, Plaintiff has suffered damages.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests the following relief:

a. Defendants conduct complained of herein be declared in violation

of the public policy of the State of Iowa;

b. Plaintiff be awarded back pay, front pay, compensatory damages

and any other equitable relief available in law or equity;

c. An order be entered permanently enjoining Defendants from

violations of the public policy of the State of Iowa.

COUNT III

IOWA CODE 70A.29(3)(b) AND IOWA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1.501-1.511

TEMPORARY INJUNCTION TO PREVENT A REPRISAL

35. Plaintiff incorporates by reference Paragraphs 1 through 34 of this Petition

as if fully set forth herein.

36. The City of University Heights is a political subdivision as the term is

utilized in Iowa Code 70A.29(1).

37. The City of University Heights Police Department is a law enforcement

agency as the term is utilized in Iowa Code 70A.29(1).

38. In his role as Acting Police Chief, Kris Lyon is an other public official as

the term is utilized in Iowa Code 70A.29(1).

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39. Plaintiff reasonably believes that the use of uniformed police officers in

police cars to escort city officials to canvass a neighborhood urging residents to attend a

council meeting to lobby the city council to take some specific action evidences a

violation of law or rule, or abuse of authority.

40. Defendant has discharged, reinstated, and threatened to discharge

Plaintiff from his employment for engaging in protected conduct described in 70A.29(1).

41. Defendant has disciplined Plaintiff as a reprisal for engaging in protected

conduct described in Iowa Code 70A.29(1).

42. As Defendant has proposed to commit an act in violation of Iowa Code

70A.29(1), 70A.29(3)(b) authorizes this court to issue an injunction to prohibit Defendant

from terminating Plaintiffs employment in any manner which violates 70A.29(1).

43. Plaintiff has not previously sought any petition for injunction in the present

manner from any court.

44. Plaintiff would be irreparably injured by the loss of employment, income

and benefits, and damage to his employment record which would result from the

termination of employment.

For all of the above and foregoing reasons, Plaintiff respectfully requests the

court issue an order pursuant to Iowa Code 70A.29(3)(b) and Iowa Rule of Civil

Procedure 1.1501-1.1511 temporarily enjoining Defendant from terminating the

employment of Plaintiff. Plaintiff requests a hearing on this matter as soon as

practicable, with the exceptions of July 20 and 21 owing to previous commitments of

Plaintiffs counsel.

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/s/ Nathan Willems
NATHAN WILLEMS, AT0009260
RUSH & NICHOLSON, P.L.C.
115 First Avenue SE, Suite 201
P. O. Box 637
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-0637
Telephone (319) 363-5209
Facsimile (319) 363-6664
ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF

Original electronically filed.