Former Spokane Co. health official files $ 1.4 million lawsuit for dismissal

The former Spokane County health official, who believes he was fired last year due to unpopular decisions he made to contain COVID-19, has filed a lawsuit with the health district that could lead to a lawsuit.

The Spokesman Review Reports by Dr. Bob Lutz filed the administrative lawsuit on October 8th. Robert Carlson, Lutz’s attorney, said the hope is that the district will determine the legitimacy of Lutz’s lawsuit and work to resolve the issue out of court.

As a result of his dismissal in October 2020, Lutz is demanding at least 1.4 million US dollars in damages for unlawful dismissal as well as “defamation, emotional distress, psychological agony and damage to professional reputation”.

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The health district has 60 days to respond to Lutz’s request, after which Lutz could file a lawsuit.

The chair of the health committee, Mary Kuney, did not respond to the request for comment.

In his lawsuit, Lutz claims that his dismissal was unlawful according to the statutes of the state and the health district and requests his reinstatement as a health officer and the award of the required damages.

The claim contains several examples of alleged political pressure and tension between Lutz and certain members of the Ministry of Health in 2020, particularly when the county was stuck in limited periods due to COVID-19 case rates.

Lutz was hired by the Ministry of Health shortly after his release to aid the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response.

“I campaigned for public health. It cost me my job,” said Lutz in a statement published on Wednesday through his lawyer. “As a public health doctor, it was my responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public.”

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