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Cancer-stricken Mahoning County worker fired and loses health insurance for exercising First Amendment rights—demands reinstatement

Friday, December 9, 2022

Ricky Morrison, a Mahoning County maintenance worker, has cancer. When he went as a private citizen to show support for a county-commissioner challenger candidate, the incumbent didn't like it—and had him fired, alleges letter demanding reinstatement.

Cancer-stricken Mahoning County worker fired and loses health insurance for exercising First Amendment rights—demands reinstatement
Ricky Morrison

Youngstown, OH – Today, Subodh Chandra, Chandra Law's managing partner, sent a letter to the Mahoning County, Ohio Commissioners demanding that they reinstate Ricky Morrison, a cancer-stricken maintenance worker who was fired, Morrison says, because he expressed his First Amendment rights. He did so by attending an elections-board meeting to support a candidate challenging incumbent Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.

Morrison, who is not a policymaker, and his family depended on his income and county-provided health insurance. Being stripped of his insurance has been particularly devastating as he faces cancer.

Morrison had an exemplary record at work and no record of discipline.

The letter alleges that Righetti stated her disgust over Morrison's exercise of his constitutional rights and that another commissioner called Morrison to admit the retaliatory motive behind the firing and his disagreement with it. The letter warns:

If, by Friday, December 16, 2022 (one week from today), you do not immediately and unconditionally reinstate Mr. Morrison to mitigate the harm inflicted on him—and being inflicted upon him as a health-insurance-deprived cancer patient, we will act swiftly and accordingly.

Chandra's letter, which is now a public record containing the details of Morrison's experience, can be found here.

UPDATE 12/13/2022: Morrison has been reinstated upon Chandra Law's demand, but as explained here, Acting Prosecuting Attorney Gina DeGenova's email raises more troubling questions than it answers:

Chandra Law has experience obtaining justice for victims of First Amendment retaliation, including public employees. If you think that your rights have been violated, you may contact us to discuss your options.

You can reach our firm, which serves clients throughout Ohio, by calling 216-578-1700 or, better yet, by filling out our online contact form.

At Chandra Law, your case is our cause.®

Related Practice Areas
Employment RetaliationFirst AmendmentGovernment Ethics, Misconduct, Fraud, & AbuseOhio Public Records Act, Open Meetings Act, FOIA, & Sunshine LawsCrime Victims: Civil Action for Damages for Criminal Acts Under Ohio Revised Code § 2307.60

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