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Fired officer asks for new trial

Says limited time available restricted ability to depose witnesses.

May 31, 2011|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com

A former Burbank police officer is seeking a new trial after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed his allegations of being fired after complaining of workplace harassment.

Christopher Lee Dunn claimed he suffered years of ridicule based on his Japanese-American ancestry while at the Burbank Police Department and the harassment eventually led to his wrongful termination.

City officials alleged Dunn — a recipient of Los Angeles Police Department Medal of Valor before joining the Burbank ranks in 2001 — was terminated for interfering with a criminal investigation, lying and insubordination.

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Judge Alan S. Rosenfeld determined in his ruling that Dunn failed to “’connect the dots to establish that the city of Burbank has wronged him.”

In his request for a new trial, filed last week, Dunn claims he was unable to present sufficient evidence to support his case.

Solomon Gresen, an attorney for Dunn, claims in court filings the city “completely interrupted” the discovery process only six weeks after a judge ordered the release of police officer personnel records and information in November.

“We are hopeful that the court, after reviewing our moving papers, will find it in the interests of justice to grant Christopher Dunn a new trial,” said Gresen.

Dunn argues in court documents that the limited timeline kept his attorneys from deposing nine possible witnesses that could have backed the former Burbank officer and would have enabled him to “properly oppose” the motion for summary judgment. City officials disagree.

“There is no legal or factual basis for a new trial motion and we would not expect it to be granted,” said city spokesman Keith Sterling.

Rosenfeld’s ruling found “no reasonable finder of fact could find discrimination, retaliation or actionable harassment” in Dunn’s arguments and the officer “suffered the loss of this job due to the severity of his transgression.”

The motion is scheduled to be presented to the judge on June 16.
 
 

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