October 26, 2022

St. Tammany Sheriff Wins 'Whistleblower' and Termination Lawsuits

St. Tammany Sheriff Randy Smith recently reported receiving two favorable court rulings: one characterized as a “whistleblower” lawsuit filed by former Chief Deputy Fred Oswald and a second one filed by former Captain Calvin Lewis that claimed he was unlawfully terminated. 

The Oswald lawsuit was heard in District Court and on October 25, 2022, Sheriff Smith was informed of a ruling in his favor. Click here for more details from nola.com The case was dismissed. The Court apparently rejected the allegations made by Oswald, who claimed he was fired in retaliation for giving information to the District Attorney's Office about another employee. The Court determined that  there were no violations of law by Sheriff Smith. Further,  the court determined that the District Attorney’s Office was in fact provided with everything that it needed from the Sheriff’s Office in order to secure a conviction of the former STPSO employee. The District Court further concluded Sheriff Smith was well within his rights to terminate Oswald, once Sheriff Smith had determined Oswald’s service was no longer needed in his administration. “Fred Oswald is but another example of an individual from the prior corrupt administration who was lawfully terminated and rather than accept that decision, he, like Calvin Lewis, chose to file a frivolous lawsuit and waste the taxpayers’ money,” Sheriff Smith said. 

The Lewis lawsuit was heard earlier this month by the Court of Appeal who upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of the agency. Click here for more details from nola.com Calvin Lewis, a former captain with the agency, was terminated in May 2017 following an internal affairs investigation which confirmed he had violated agency policy. In May 2018, Lewis filed suit against Sheriff Smith and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office for wrongful termination. The Court of Appeal ruled October 19, 2022 to uphold the August 2019 ruling made by U.S. District Judge Barry Ashen, that Sheriff Smith’s decision to terminate Lewis was a lawful exercise of his discretion to make personnel decisions that uphold the integrity of his agency. “Mr. Lewis was knowingly in violation of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office policy, and he was thus lawfully terminated,” Sheriff Smith said. “It is my belief that all members of law enforcement must be held to a higher standard to maintain public trust and agency integrity.”

“Fortunately, both of these lawsuits were rejected and dismissed by the courts at the plaintiffs’ costs.” “I will never stop fighting against those who wish to drag the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office back to the way things used to be,” Sheriff Smith added.

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