SPOKANE, Wash. — Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane's former health officer who was fired from SRHD two years ago, has filed a lawsuit against the district for wrongful termination.
Lutz announced his intent to file in late October. This week, the suit was submitted in superior court.
Overall, Lutz's lawsuit against SRHD accuses the district of several types of wrongful termination as well as defamation.
The types of wrongful termination covered in the court documents include wrongful termination in violation of SRHD's bylaws and Washington's Administrative Procedures Act, a lack of just cause, wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, a violation of the fifth and fourteenth amendment and violation of Lutz's free speech.
Lutz is also asking to be immediately reinstated as SRHD's Health Officer.
According to court documents, Lutz's defense attorney claims that, prior to his firing, Lutz was "admonished" by the interim administrative officer during a meeting in 2019 when he stated that suicide prevention could not be adequately addressed unless a primary means of suicide (i.e. firearms) was addressed as well.
The documents also state that Clark told Lutz he was not allowed to communicate with state representatives for Spokane County. Prior to this, Lutz had communicated frequently with these representatives regarding gun safety.
Dr. Lutz's attorney also asserted that SRHD disapproved of Lutz's participation in a Black Lives Matter march following the death of George Floyd. The attorney also claimed in the documents that SRHD tried to "recharacterize" Lutz's termination by categorizing it as "administrative leave."
Lutz's attorney states in the documents that the former health officer is entitled to all resulting damages he incurred as a result of being wrongfully fired from SRHD. These damages include consequential damages, pain and suffering and attorney fees and costs. The final sum of these costs will be determined at the trial.
We contacted SRHD and were referred to their legal team. We have yet to receive a response back.