Former staffers sue Port

Mike Weston

Anne Foster, the attorney for recently fired Port of Astoria employees Colleen Browne and Tami Herman, has filed a suit for each against their former employer in federal court. The suits were filed Tuesday, and the Port was served Thursday.

The defendants listed in both cases include the Port; Michael Weston, former interim executive director and current director of business development and operations; and up to 10 more people unidentified defendants unknown to the plaintiffs, Browne and Herman.

Browne, the Port’s former financial manager and personnel manager between April 2007 and November 2014, asserts claims for:

• Whistleblower retaliation against the Port and Weston.

• Aiding and abetting whistleblower retaliation against Weston.

• Unauthorized disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity against the Port.

• Breach of employment contract against the Port.

• Defamation of character against the Port and Weston.

• Postemployment retaliation against the Port.

For her claims, Browne seeks a combined $2.75 million in economic, noneconomic and punitive damages from the Port and/or Weston, along with an award of costs and disbursements incurred therein.

Herman, employed in the Port’s finance department between June 2012 and November 2014, asserts claims for:

• Whistleblower retaliation against the Port and Weston;

• Disability discrimination against the Port;

• Injured worker discrimination against the Port;

• Aiding and abetting in whistleblower retaliation against Weston;

• Unauthorized disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity against the Port;

• Breach of employment contract against the Port;

• Defamation of character against the Port and Weston.

• Postemployment retaliation against the Port.

For her claims, Herman seeks a combined $2.65 million in economic, noneconomic and punitive damages from the Port and/or Weston, along with an award of costs and disbursements incurred therein.

The federal jurisdiction of the case is because:

• Plaintiffs Browne and Herman are from Washington, the Port is in Oregon and the amount of relief sought exceeds $75,000.

• Foster served the Port with an Oregon Tort Claims Act notice, required by state law to sue a public agency.

• The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit within 180 days of their alleged loss or injury.

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