The Texas Third District Court of Appeals overruled former Killeen finance director Barbara Gonzales’ motion to rehear her case against the city.
Gonzales filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city in March 2013 after City Manager Glenn Morrison fired her in December 2012 following a two-month internal investigation into the city’s Fleet Services Division — which Gonzales oversaw — that identified a culture of theft.
Gonzales alleged in her lawsuit that Morrison fired her in retaliation for reporting violations of state and local finance laws she claims he committed, while the city claimed it fired Gonzales as a result of its investigation.
The city asked Bell County’s 146th District Court to dismiss the lawsuit, but Judge Jack Jones ruled the lawsuit could continue under the Texas Whistleblower Act. The city appealed the decision in June 2014 and the appeals court dismissed Gonzales’ case Nov. 3, ruling she “failed to provide adequate evidence to show causation.”
Gonzales must now accept the ruling or file an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court.
Gonzales’ attorney, Todd Kelly, did not respond to emails or phone calls asking for comment Tuesday.
In a previous Herald report, Kelly said appealing to the Supreme Court can be both costly and ineffective.
If Gonzales were to lose her case in the Supreme Court, she would have to pay her own court costs, and she would have to pay the city’s attorney’s fees as well, Kelly said. In addition, 92 percent of the Supreme Court’s rulings have gone against the plaintiff in the last 10 years, he said.
“The Supreme Court, the last few years, has not proven favorable to plaintiffs’ cause for actions,” Kelly said.