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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Ficano

Relief for former Wayne County executive Robert Ficano as the FBI's investigation into county government ends.
Wayne County

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman has dismissed a lawsuit against Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. The case was filed by former Wayne County employee James Wallace, who claimed Ficano fired him for refusing to do political work on county time.

Wallace is a graphic designer who worked for Ficano for 13 years. He claimed he was fired for refusing to design campaign materials for Ficano. The Wayne County lawyers maintain Wallace's firing was strictly a budgetary decision.

Deborah Gordon, Wallace's lawyer, says she was shocked by the ruling.

She says her client still has a strong case against Ficano. "We submitted to the court luminous records and information that showed there was never anything in writing requiring a layoff or a budget cut," she said. "In fact, people were rehired into my client's department very quickly after he was fired. There was no savings."

Friedman ruled Wallace did not show that Ficano ordered his termination.

Gordon says her client still has a strong case against Ficano, and she intends to appeal the ruling.

"There's a wealth of evidence that these people were very upset with James Wallace, and they set out to get rid of him."

Gordon says if she can't appeal the decision to Friedman, she'll take the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom