U.S. District Court dismisses police officer lawsuit against City of Bartlesville

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A lawsuit filed by seven police officers last spring in the United States District Court in Tulsa alleging misuses of personal information, among other allegations, by the City of Bartlesville has been dismissed.

The court on Friday granted the city's motion to dismiss the suit agreeing with the city that the plaintiffs in their petition had identified "no federal law violations upon which a claim for relief could be based."

Russell Renfro, Adam Walker, Sonya Worthington, Elizabeth Mitchell, Thomas LeBlanc, Cody Thomas and Carey Duniphin in their petition for injunctive relief filed in March alleged the city had violated its own policies and procedures concerning personnel information and not give adequate protection to personnel files.

Along with other claims including one that the city maintained "multiple copies" of "wrongfully retained" information files, the plaintiffs accused city of attempting "to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act requests."

According to motion for dismissal, while the officers in their lawsuit contended the above and other practices mentioned in the suit violated the city's "policies and procedures" as well as "federal and state laws," the only law specifically identified in their petition was the FOIA, "as recognized by the court in its orders in the individual plaintiffs' cases, FOIA does not apply to municipalities; it applies only to the federal government."

In their petition, the officers sought no less than $10,000 each for damages suffered by them as a result of the city's "illegal and improper employment practices" and the city to pay all court costs related to the case.

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