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Chandra Law Blog

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Whistleblower Files First Amendment Lawsuit, Alleging Retaliation for Reporting Safety Violations to the FAA

CLEVELAND, OHIO - Two years after his unceremonious removal from the Field-Maintenance Manager post at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, Mayfield Heights resident Abdul-Malik Ali today filed an amended lawsuit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Ali, who on February 18, 2015 told the Federal Aviation Administration about how the Airport was systematically failing to meet FAA-mandated staffing levels for its snow-and-ice-removal operations―and who was booted from his job the very next day―claims that there is an undeniable connection between these two events. He seeks reinstatement to his former position as well as economic and non-economic damages caused by the Airport's retaliatory actions.

OSHA determines demotion of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport manager was retaliatory

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has informed the City of Cleveland that OSHA has determined that there is "reasonable cause to believe" that Chandra Law's client Abdul Malik-Ali was demoted in retaliation for reporting unsafe conditions on the runways at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The city has 10 days to respond, and was invited to propose settlement. OSHA's finding follows a $735,000 national-record fine that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed upon the city for the very safety violations that Mr. Ali identified. (That fine was later settled for $200,000―with the FAA not permitting the city to disclaim its responsibility in the settlement agreement.)

AUDIO: Additional whistleblower complaint to the FAA and OSHA reports Cleveland Hopkins International Airport airfield-maintenance manager's recorded threats of further retaliation, "climate of fear"

Cleveland, OH - Secretly recorded audio reveals Cleveland Hopkins International Airport airfield-maintenance manager Robert Henderson on January 19, 2017 excoriating his employees and threatening them with retaliation for whistleblowing safety violations.

Henderson made the threats one day after Chandra Law sent to the FAA and OSHA on behalf of former airfield-maintenance manager Abdul-Malik Ali a complaint regarding additional safety violations. Chandra Law on January 24, 2017 sent an additional complaint and the audio recording to the FAA and OSHA describing the resulting "climate of fear."

RTA pays $45,000 to Lakewood woman assaulted by RTA police officer

Complaint alleged officer arrested and assaulted Plaintiff without probable cause; RTA suspended officer and placed him on probation

CLEVELAND, OHIO - The Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (RTA) has paid $45,000 to Jessica Ferrato, in settlement of her lawsuit for being unlawfully assaulted by now-former RTA police officer Jonathan Pacholke in March 2015 as she was exiting the Lakewood W 117th Street station. Ferrato sued the RTA and Pacholke in February 2016, alleging claims for U.S. constitutional violations, including for unlawful seizure and excessive force under the Fourth Amendment, and Ohio-law claims for battery and false arrest.

Whistleblower to FAA and OSHA: new, serious safety violations at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport put travelers at risk

Via a letter from Subodh Chandra today, Abdul-Malik Ali, the former airfield maintenance manager at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, has alerted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) to serious safety violations at the airport. The letter states that the violations stem from unqualified staffing at the airport.

The violations caused runways, ramps, and taxiways to be shut down and flights to be diverted, and Mr. Ali believes, represent an ongoing threat to the traveling public.

East Cleveland City School District education board to adopt numerous changes and reimburse $100,000 in fees incurred for board member's suit over extensive open-government violations

The settlement comes two weeks before the board was about to face trial

EAST CLEVELAND, OHIO - Today, the East Cleveland City School District board of education committed to concrete actions to comply with Ohio's open-government laws, correct past violations, and reimburse Dr. Patricia A. Blochowiak, a board member, $100,000 in attorneys' fees and costs incurred in her whistleblower action forcing the board's legal compliance.

Kettering taxpayer demands city council declare that councilmember vacated his seat by serving as presidential elector

Robert L. Scott held dual public offices by serving as a presidential elector while holding a seat on City Council. The Kettering Charter mandates that Council declare his seat vacant.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - Today, counsel for John J. Murphy, a City of Kettering taxpayer, wrote to Kettering's Director of Law demanding that City Council declare that Robert L Scott has vacated his office, and recoup all salary and benefits paid to Scott since December 19.

The demand letter explains that by serving as an Electoral College member last month, Scott violated the Kettering Charter, which bars City Council members from holding any other elected office during their tenure. Ohio law provides for the election of presidential electors. The Kettering Charter mandates that Council declare vacant the seat of any council member who violates this or other prohibitions.

Ironically, Scott served as a presidential elector only because Ohio Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) resigned at the eleventh hour when facing a suit from her constituents our firm filed for violating a similar Ohio constitutional ban on state legislators holding dual public offices.

Letter to Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams regarding his failure to terminate officers who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice

The following is the opening text of an open letter just sent to Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams:

Chandra Law wins Ohio Supreme Court victory for crime victims: civil damages can be recovered for criminal acts

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court held in favor of Chandra Law Firm client Jessica Jacobson and confirmed that an Ohio statute, R.C. 2307.60(A)(1) "Civil Action for Damages for Criminal Act," creates an independent cause of action for crime victims to recover full damages in civil actions against perpetrators. Jacobson v. Kaforey, Slip. Op. No. 2016-Ohio-8434. The Court's affirmation of an "independent" cause of action means that crime victims will no longer have to scour the law for statutes or cases authorizing recovery for the specific crime by which they were victimized.

Victory: State Rep. Christina Hagan resigns as Trump presidential Electoral College member, having violated Ohio's Constitution by serving dual public offices

Canton, OH ― In a victory for Ohio voters and the Ohio Constitution, Ohio 50th District State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) has belatedly resigned as a member of the presidential Electoral College. The Electoral College is slated to meet at noon today, December 19, in the state capitol in Columbus. 

Hagan was facing a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order before Judge John Haas of Canton, showing that Hagan, by serving as both a member of Ohio's General Assembly and presidential elector, was violating Article II, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution. Her vote would have been illegal.

Lead counsel for Plaintiffs Deborah L. Cain and Andrew J. DiLiddo, Hagan's constituents, said, "This is a victory for Ohioans who believe in integrity in

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