IT analyst says Fourth Amendment rights violated
A former information technology analyst for the city of Sherwood has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated and seeking almost $600,000 in damages after he was terminated.
Sherwood City Manager Joe Gall said the city would not comment on the pending litigation.
According to the lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Curtis Stoecklin worked for the city from July 2010 to Feb. 8, 2012. His troubles began when he married a woman who he claims had severe mental health problems.
Stoecklin, who apparently lived in Beaverton at the time, claims in the lawsuit that his wife physically assaulted him, causing him to suffer visible injuries.
In order to protect himself from potential false claims by Mrs. Stoecklin, using his cell phone, plaintiff made a record of her aberrant behavior and of injuries to himself inflicted by her, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Linda L. Marshall. She accosted him when she found that he had photos of the injuries she had inflicted on him and attempted to delete the photos.
As a result, Stoecklin said he kept a log of his wifes abusive behavior, storing it on a private folder on a city of Sherwood computer, something he said he was permitted to do.
On Dec. 11, 2011, Stoecklin claimed his wife jumped on his back, injuring him after recent spinal surgery. He left his house and called Beaverton police for help. Several days later, police contacted Stoecklin, telling him that his wife claimed it was he who had physically attacked her during the incident.
Stoecklin told police that his wife had made threats against him, herself and the couples unborn child. He then remotely connected to the city of Sherwoods computer system to access recordings he made on his cell phone of the Dec. 11 incidents, playing them for officers.
Beaverton officers took Stoecklin into custody, booking him into Washington County Jail for 12 hours and charging him with one count of fourth-degree assault and two counts of illegally obtaining communications.
Stoecklins lawsuit claims that on Dec. 14, 2011, Sherwoods information technology director accessed Stoecklins computer and downloaded his personal folder to a flash drive and gave it to Sherwood police without the benefit of any search warrant.
Stoecklin was placed on paid administrative, being told by Sherwood administrators that the reason was that he stored and accessed illegal recordings on the citys computer system.
Plaintiffs audio files were not illegal recordings, Stoecklins attorney wrote.
On Jan. 9, 2012, the citys human resources manager told Stoecklin that it was recommended that he be fired. He later had a pre-termination hearing in front of city officials explaining his actions and he also explained that it was common for city employees to keep private and personal matter on their city computers.