Court dismisses Exeter Township's claims against former employee

By Gabriel Neves | Dec 27, 2018

Hard drive   Pexels

PHILADELPHIA -- The case of a former Exeter Township employee who was sued by the town over alleged illegal acts has been dismissed.

Judge Joseph Leeson Jr., on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued a 13-page ruling on Dec. 14, dismissing the lawsuit filed by Exeter Township against former employee Eric Gardecki.

The court granted the dismissal based on the fact that the township "failed to state a claim" that Gardecki acted illegally while employed by Exeter.

Exeter sued Gardecki on claims that he was keeping hard drives that contained information that was sensitive to the administration, alleging he committed a breach of fiduciary duty.

As stated in the ruling, "from 2001 to April 13, 2016, the Township employed Gardecki in the position of

Township Information Technology (IT) Administrator." Right before he was terminated from his job at Exeter, per the document, "he made a copy of the Township’s cloud-based server on an external hard drive owned by the Township," as well as he "stole two additional Township hard drives that also contained Township=owned materials."

The hard drives contained sensitive information about police investigations and legal advice, among other things.

"Gardecki had no legitimate business purpose for stealing the hard drives; he did so because he wanted to assist the Township’s former Zoning Officer, Cheryl Franckowiak, who had informed Gardecki that she planned to act as a whistleblower against the Township," the plaintiff claimed.

In his ruling, Leeson dismissed the township's breach of fiduciary duty claims, stating that "the Township’s Complaint does not include sufficient factual allegations to satisfy the second and third elements of a breach for fiduciary claim because the Township does not plead factual content that the Township suffered injury or that would allow the Court to draw any reasonable inference that Gardecki’s acts were a 'real factor' in bringing about such injury."

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 5:18-cv-01723.

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