First Amendment Suit Filed Against Hartford Courant Following Termination of Columnist

I was tipped off by a reader that George Gombossy, the consumer columnist at Ctwatchdog, would be filing his wrongful termination suit against his former employer the Hartford Courant.  Sure enough, the lawsuit now has been filed and made its way around cyberspace today.  

Hartford Attorney Mark Dumas posted a copy of the lawsuit on Twitter.  You can read the lawsuit here (download).  You can also read about the suit at the Laurel and in a post by Christine Stuart at CTnewsjunkie.

Mr. Gombossy also posted the lawsuit on his new blog, ctwatchdog.com.  You can read Mr. Gombossy's comments on the suit here.  He claims that "Courant management attempted to pressure [him] from writing negative columns about key advertisers."  He claims that his termination followed after he wrote a column about Sleepy's that the Courant never published.  

The Courant denied the allegations according to an article today by Kenneth Gosselin. The Courant also issued a statement calling Mr. Gombossy's claims a "mischaracterization."

The focus of relief for Mr. Gombossy's lawsuit is Connecticut's free speech statute, which provides for damages in the event of termination for exercise of certain first amendment rights.   Dan Schwartz at the CT Employment Law Blog dissected the suit earlier today and provided a possible defense to the free speech claim. 

As noted by Dan Schwartz, nothing needs to happen in the lawsuit until November 13th, at the earliest, when the Courant has to file a response to the lawsuit.  Based on its statement on the case, it appears that the Courant intends to vigorously defend the suit.  We will have to watch how this case develops.