11/3/2014California Judge Tosses Redflex Employment Lawsuit
California will not consider unlawful termination case filed by former red light camera executive over bribery.
It will now be up to an Arizona court to decide who is responsible for dealing the red light camera bribes at Redflex Traffic Systems. Last week, a California judge threw out the unlawful termination case that Aaron M. Rosenberg, a former top executive, filed against Redflex. A federal court also rejected the suit in August. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason concluded that the case belongs in Arizona.
"The court finds that plaintiff executed a valid and binding forum selection clause [in his employment contract with Redflex] agreeing that any action arising out of his employment would be brought or maintained exclusively in the Arizona state or federal courts," the judge concluded.
Rosenberg argued that it made more sense to hear the case in California because he was a California employee of a Redflex subsidiary based in California. He also questioned whether Arizona law was strong enough to hear his claims fully. The former executive vice president and top salesman is now one of the photo ticketing firm's foremost critics.
"Redflex does a substantial amount of business in California and lines its corporate pocketbook with contracts with California cities and traffic fines collected from California citizens," Rosenberg's attorney, Thomas H. Bienert Jr, wrote. "The manner in which it obtained these contracts, however, is, as alleged by Mr. Rosenberg, less than honest. And this is the real reason Redflex wants this matter to stay out of California. Of course it would prefer this action to disappear or be litigated under Arizona law in Arizona, a state not renowned for its employee protections or tough stance against corporate impropriety."
Rosenberg says that his primary job at Redflex was to use corporate money to befriend public officials, buying them gifts so that they would be receptive to signing lucrative contracts with Redflex.
"From the outset of his employment with the company, Redflex management made clear to Mr. Rosenberg that one of the ways in which he was to build such relationships was through the use of entertainments, gifts, and other inducements to government employees and officials," Bienert wrote.
These practices came to light in Chicago, Illinois, kicking off a bribery investigation that ultimately led to Rosenberg's former boss, Karen Finley, being indicted for corruption in August. Rosenberg says Finley fired him in an attempt to save herself.
"Redflex's true problem is that the feeble narrative they constructed in February 2013, in which they made Mr. Rosenberg the scapegoat for Redflex's corporate practice of bribing government officials, is on the verge of collapse," Bienert wrote. "The civil discovery in this case (which Redflex has thus far refused to provide by making blanket objections to all of Mr. Rosenberg's discovery requests) will further show that Redflex has not been truthful regarding the scope and extent of its improper activities and the narrative it created for the public consumption."
Rosenberg says that Redflex lied to the press when it said he was reprimanded and sent to "anti-bribery training" after the first limited reports of the bribery scandal leaked in the press. Rosenberg says he was never reprimanded. Rosenberg spilled the beans to Chicago's inspector general on February 4, 2013, and he was fired sixteen days later. Redflex then sued Rosenberg in an Arizona court, and Rosenberg countered with his suits in California and federal courts. His claims will now be resolved in Arizona.
"Defendants have wasted eight months attempting to dodge discovery, increase Mr. Rosenberg's litigation expenses, and avoid accountability," Bienert wrote.
A copy of the California order is available in an 80k PDF file at the source link below.