(CN) – The FBI cannot be sued for firing a special agent who violated the FBI Offense Code during a domestic dispute with his wife, a federal judge ruled.
If the former agent files an amended complaint, he can still seek reinstatement, the decision states.
FBI Special Agent Bryant Jones had a March 2008 domestic dispute with his wife at their home in Country Club Hills, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
Jones allegedly made an “inappropriate comment to the local law enforcement officers who caused the responding local law enforcement officers to place Special Agent Jones under arrest and to forcibly escort him from inside his private residence,” according to the complaint.
After Jones’ supervisor arrived at the station, all charges against Jones were dismissed, and his record was expunged.
Nevertheless, the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated the incident and found that Jones had violated several provisions of the FBI Offense Code. The office recommended Jones’ immediate dismissal from the FBI.
The FBI’s Disciplinary Review Board confirmed this recommendation, and Jones was fired in 2009, after an 11-year career with the bureau.
Jones sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and FBI Director Robert Mueller III, alleging that the FBI wrongfully deprived him of a protectable property interest in his continued employment with the FBI.
But U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly dismissed Jones’ complaint last week.
“Jones’s claims for monetary relief are not cognizable because of the administrative scheme created by the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA).” Kennelly explained.
“It is still an open question in this circuit whether a plaintiff can sue for equitable relief,” Kennelly added. “The court also notes that the Supreme Court is reviewing the issue of whether the CSRA precludes claims for equitable relief.”
Conceding that his complaint sought both monetary relief and reinstatement, Jones asked to amend his complaint.
Kennelly agreed and recommended that “plaintiff consider further amendments in light of defendants’ arguments that the complaint in its current form does not adequately describe a property interest cognizable under the due process clause.”