Florida City Sued by Water Quality Whistleblower

Christine Ferrigan filed a complaint against the City of Delray Beach, Florida, and the City’s Utility Director and City Manager, alleging the defendants harassed and eventually fired the plaintiff for exposing that partially treated sewer water contaminated the city’s drinking water among other water quality issues.

The plaintiff says she worked as a wastewater treatment professional for over thirty years in Southern Florida. According to the complaint, the plaintiff repeatedly admonished the City about water contamination issues, despite the City’s refusal to listen or act to solve the problems.

The plaintiff resorted to disclosing the water quality problems to the press and a non-profit environmental group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, due to the City’s alleged willful ignorance; these disclosures eventually led to the Florida Department of Health’s investigation into the City which resulted in a more than $1 million fine for at least nine regulatory violations.

The complaint alleges that shortly after the conclusion of the Florida DOH investigation, the City retaliated against and ultimately fired the plaintiff, violating her constitutional rights to free speech and Florida’s Public Whistleblower’s Act.

The plaintiff seeks the following for relief: a declaratory judgment the defendants have willingly violated their legal obligation to the plaintiff and the public, as well as, violated her rights, a reinstatement of the plaintiff to the same or equivalent position termination or front pay, and all applicable damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Mehri & Skalet PLLC.