7th Circuit Dismisses Cop’s Defamation Claim

     CHICAGO (CN) – A former Wisconsin police sergeant’s claim that his boss forced him out of his job was dismissed by the 7th Circuit because of procedural flaws.



     In 2006, acting on the request of two Lisbon town supervisors, Sergeant Gaetano “Tom” Alioto began an investigation of Chief of Police Terry Martorano to determine if he was committing fraud. The supervisors suspected Martorano of “double-dipping” by submitting time sheets to the town for periods when he was in fact working as a private security guard.
     According to Alioto, his report resulted in Martorano’s placement on administrative leave. An independent investigator confirmed Alioto’s findings, but Martorano was allowed to return to his job because of the “threat of a lawsuit, it seems,” the court wrote.
     Martorano then began a campaign of defamatory statements to the press and district attorney in an effort to have baseless criminal charges brought against Alioto, the complaint states.
     The stress allegedly caused Alioto to take a seven-month medical leave of absence. When Alioto attempted to return to work, Martorano imposed a fitness-for-duty examination which Alioto failed.
     Alioto sued Martorano and the Town, alleging defamation, hostile work environment, and due process violations.
     The Town submitted a motion to dismiss to which Alioto did not respond. Instead, he filed a motion to amend his complaint which was denied. The case was dismissed.
     The 7th Circuit affirmed.
     “Long standing under our case law is the rule that a person waives an argument by failing to make it before the district court… We apply that rule where a party fails to develop arguments related to a discrete issue, and we also apply that rule where a litigant effectively abandons the litigation by not responding to alleged deficiencies in a motion to dismiss.”

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