New Developments in Suit Against TCAC

On March 10, a “Case Management Conference” was held in the suit against Tulare County by former Tulare County Animal Control (TCAC) employees Paul Grenseman and Julia Jimenez. A date for a jury trial was set for December 7. Before the trial, a court ordered mediation must be accomplished no later than October 22, to see if a settlement can be reached. The case is assigned to Judge Brett Hillman.

On December 4, 2013, Grenseman and Jimenez, both working for TCAC, were “walked off the job” and told that they were under investigation and being put on administrative leave. Jimenez was subsequently fired on July 2, 2014, and Grenseman retired on June 5 of that year. Last November, Grenseman and Jimenez filed suit in Tulare County Superior Court against five Tulare County employees and the county. The plaintiffs are suing for discrimination, racial/ethnic and sexual harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and failure to prevent harassment as well retaliation for objecting to, speaking out against, and complaining of illegal discrimination and harassment.

To defend itself against Grenseman and Jimenez, the county has retained McCormick Barstow LLP, a  national law firm with 89 lawyers. The law firm, founded in Fresno 51 years ago, represents major real estate developers and farmers, and fought a recent case against legendary pilot Chuck Yeager. The lawyer who will be presenting the case against Grenseman and Jimenez is Michael Woods, a McCormick Barstow partner with 30 years’ experience. It is unknown why the county chose to hire an expensive outside law firm and not use someone from their pool of 20 lawyers usually hired by Tulare County to take on such cases.

Another development in the case is that a defendant, who previously could not be found, has resurfaced. Yessica Ozuna, who quit her job at TCAC right after Jimenez and Grenseman were put under investigation, came forward a few weeks ago. She called Melo and Sarsfield, the plaintiff’s law firm, and set up a time and place to be served. The county is representing Ozuna and they have entered/filed a general denial on her behalf.  Jimenez is alleging that Ozuna created a fake Facebook page in order to send inflammatory messages about Jimenez and her acquaintances.

It was also reported that, after being interviewed by McCormick Barstow, defendant Shawn Mathis abruptly quit her job. Mathis is suspected of sending harassing letters and making harassing phone calls to and against Jimenez.

More allegations about sexual misconduct by one of the defendants has come to light. Melo and Sarsfield will be using these allegations in their case against the county. Jimenez was accused of exposing her breasts as one of the reasons for her termination. At Jimenez’ Employment Development Department trial in January those individuals to which she supposedly exposed herself have signed affidavits stating that the allegations are false.

In the meantime, one of the defendants in the case was known by the county to have engaged in several instances of sexual misconduct, such as oral copulation and unwanted sexual advances to a fellow employee. Melo and Sarsfield will point out in court that the county cannot pick and choose who to fire over sexual misconduct. If Jiminez’s actions were deemed so reprehensible as to be fired, than performing oral sex at the work place should be on the county’s list of offenses worthy of termination also.

Tulare County and the five current and former county employees named in the suit have entered “denials.”  Denials are similar to a “not guilty” in a criminal case. Right now both sides are in the discovery phase of the case.

4 thoughts on “New Developments in Suit Against TCAC

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  1. First of all, let me reiterate that fact that Tulare County makes up their rules as it goes and does what they want, when they want, regardless of the outcome. TCAC is right up there, in line with TCSO and TCDA. Their decision makers are idiots. Obviously Tulare County knows they did wrong and hiring these very expensive outside attorneys is not going to help them at all, especially since they have their own little group of idiots at the TC county counsel. Tulare County seems to spend more money on fighting a battle which they are going to lose anyway.

    This issue at TCAC is a classic example of what these department heads think they can get away with. Tulare County allows their department heads to punish employees on a personal basis and they allow them to conduct themselves in a very unbecoming and criminal manner. The county just turns their head to this type of behavior while thinking it will all just go away. Well, guess what Tulare County…’s not going anywhere!! Suck it up buttercups!! The proof that fault is within management is in the pudding. Guess who has the pudding?? Tulare County is going to lose another battle. By far, more costlier and incomprehensible. The dirty laundry is out there. You can’t change the truth!!

    It sounds like the supervisor and her group of “idiots” has taken a very personal approach when she fired Jimenez and conducted bad behavior against Jimenez and Grenseman. Sounds like someone might have been a little jealous and wanted to “get rid of” the threat.

    TCAC and Tulare County needs stopped. Do the right thing. People of Tulare County need to speak up and be heard. Let’s not approve of this behavior in our county entities. As this article stated, “the county cannot pick and choose who to fire over sexual misconduct,” especially since the person doing the firing (the blow job queen) is conducting apprehensible behavior worthy of termination.

  2. Tulare County is a cesspool of back channel politics and County Counsel manipulation to avoid accountability and liability.

    They attack county residents and then pretend to administer impartial court hearings where the decision always goes in the County’s favor; not surprising considering the “hearing officers” they hire themselves know where their pay comes from.

    The only thing stopping Tulare County from being caught in a major judicial corruption scandal is the fact that the public still remains largely blissfully unaware and uninterested in looking into it. Simple public records requests can be done for free and would reveal stygian corruption centered in and around Tulare County Animal Control, but no one is really looking at the problem, as far as I can tell, beyond the coverage of this emerging problem by the Valley Voice.

  3. I need to reach Ronald Pierce about 9th circuit appeal – Ron – you are on this board. I can NOT find you anywhere. Please contact me so I can ask you about the 9th Circuit case, sitting since March 2014. You can reach me by sending an email to bigclaim at aol Arch Cunningham is unreachable. Thank you. Michael Smith

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