Missouri State Highway Patrol files to dismiss former trooper's lawsuit

COLE COUNTY, Mo. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol filed to dismiss former trooper Anthony Piercy's lawsuit. 

ABC 17 previously reported that Piercy filed a lawsuit in December over him being fired from the organization. 

The lawsuit claims Col. Sandra Karsten overstepped her authority when she decided to fire Piercy. 

Karsten took action more than three years after Brandon Ellingson drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks while in Piercy's custody for boating while intoxicated. Piercy pleaded guilty to negligent operation of a vessel in June for using the wrong type of life jacket on Ellingson while he was handcuffed. Ellingson drowned when he went overboard during the transport. Judge Roger Prokes sentenced Piercy to two years of supervised probation and 10 days in jail.

According to the lawsuit, a patrol personnel board recommended that Piercy be allowed to come back to the Highway Patrol, and recommended he be transferred out of the area serving most of mid-Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks. Karsten, instead, decided to fire Piercy. The lawsuit, written by Jefferson City attorney Tim Van Rozelen, said the superintendent can only fire a patrol member if a majority of the board recommends it.

In the motion to dismiss, the Missouri State Highway Patrol argued that they took all the necessary steps to determine if Piercy should be fired. 

In the motion to dismiss, Missouri State Highway Patrol's lawyers call the case a "contested" one and should be reviewed as such. If a case is defined as "contested" then the decision can be made by the administrative body in which Karsten did. "The superintendent issued her own finding of fact and conclusions of law and final decision." 

Lawyers called Piercy's theory "fatally flawed" and asked the court to dismiss his lawsuit. 


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