Commonwealth Court dismisses third complaint in whistleblower suit against AG's office

By Elizabeth Alt | Nov 14, 2017

HARRISBURG – A former solicitor for the attorney general of Pennsylvania who claimed she was fired for making whistleblower reports on her bosses’ allegedly illicit activities has lost her third, and likely final, complaint in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on Oct. 25 granted the respondents' motion for summary judgment and dismissed Rita J. Cindrich's third amended petition for review with prejudice.

In the Oct. 25 court opinion, Judge Robert Simpson stated, “Beyond her verbose and unfocused pleadings, she has been unable to identify useful offers of concrete evidence on her own behalf.”

Simpson noted Cindrich had been given plenty of time to prepare evidence, but was empathetic to her long plight, saying the court acknowledged Cindrich’s “strong feelings about the last years and termination of her OAG employment. Nevertheless, we must conclude that she was afforded much time in this litigation under the discerning watch of thoughtful jurists. ... We are constrained to grant respondents’ motion for summary judgment, to deny Cindrich’s cross-motion for summary judgment, and to dismiss her third amended petition for review with prejudice.”

According to the opinion, Cindrich filed a lawsuit in 2005, alleging her former bosses at the office of the attorney general fired her in retaliation for multiple whistleblower reports she made from 2000 to 2004 that claimed former attorneys general violated multiple federal and state laws. The case has been in and out of several courts since that date.

Simpson also asserted that some of the eight counts Cindrich filed in her third amended petition were barred from re-litigation, as they had been presented in the previous courts. 

Simpson stated the only new complaint before the Commonwealth Court was whether the former attorneys general had violated the Whistleblower Law by allegedly firing Cindrich in retaliation for her whistleblower reports. 

Simpson found the claim to be meritless, and asserted, “the record indicates there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal connection between Cindrich’s pre-2004 whistleblower reports and the April 1, 2005, notification of termination.”

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania case number 440 M.D. 2010

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