City Claims Mostly Rejected in Pendleton Case; $50 Million Plus in Problems Brought to Taxpayers by Incompetent City Management and High Handed Mayor and City Council


There are lots of lawsuits against the city of Goodyear. Recent settlements and expected claims from just 5 of these could approach $50 million. Goodyear has annual REVENUES of only about $60 million each year. Five lawsuits, nearly an entire year’s revenues. Here is a summary of the big 5;

  1. The Wood Family who used to own the land that the ball park sits on just settled for $1.1 million after the city spent over $400,000 to try to make them go away. Why would you spend $400,000 just to settle for $1.1 million a few years later?
  2. Roger Matlin is suing the city for up to $9 million for his arrest on what he says were trumped up politically motivated, “disturbing the peace” charges.
  3. Shea Pendleton is suing for $27 million in a wrongful death claim against the city. (see below)
  4. Terry Woodmansee is suing for several million for wrongful discharge. Woodmansee
  5. John Rowan has not filed any claims yet but he is on deck to sue after the former assistant to the GY chief of police was fired after coming forward to question the Pendleton investigation. Rowan

What does that say about what kind of job your city council and current city management are doing? Not much (but there is hope at the end of this article).

And is Goodyear trying to settle any of these? They don’t seem to be. Not even the complete waste of time dispute GY is having with Roger Matlin, whose crime was supposedly “disturbing the peace” because he wanted to talk to a former fireman at a city council meeting who was engaged in another conversation with one of Goodyear’s many deputy city managers. Instead of spending the money to prosecute poor Roger and have a $9 million lawsuit still hanging overhead, don’t you think GY made whatever point they wanted to make with Roger by arresting him and bringing the case to trial? I’m sure they could have settled for lawyers costs with Roger if they had offered to end the prosecution.

But Georgia Lord and her team of incompetents on city council push on. Their way or the highway. During the prison debacle they grandstanded by passing a politically motivated ordinance saying they would defend against a prison being built, “at any cost” even though everyone knew that Goodyear had little legal standing at the end of the day if the Department of Corrections had decided to build here. The threat of a lawsuit did not deter Corrections, Goodyear’s residents’ voices did. And if Georgia had told prison company GEO from the start that Goodyear was not interested when they approached the city months earlier it would have never gotten to that. GEO would have gone elsewhere. Georgia seems to like the lime light, she thinks puffed up “I’m tougher than you” ordinances are the way to political salvation, and she seems to like suing people and being sued too.

Just like the whole Pendelton case. Who knows what happened there? We may never know. But all sides agree that there were BIG mistakes made by the police department which led to the uncertainty. And former GY Police Chief Mark Brown testified that Fischbach and the GY top management team at the time knew about the problems with the Pendleton accident only about ONE WEEK after the accident happened back in April 2008.

Leadership and proper management at the time could have fixed it then. Two employees came forward and said something needed to be done. Goodyear should have fixed it then but they didn’t. If they had fixed it then, there would not be lawsuits going on now from two former discharged police employees (Woodmansee and Rowan) nor a lawsuit from Pendleton’s mother. Instead, Goodyear has stonewalled the entire Pendleton affair and played hard ball all the way.

Sound like Georgia and the incompetents again to you? This is your money being spent by their poor leadership and missmangement.

Now, in a US District Court decision, most of Goodyear’s claims to have the Pendleton case dismissed have been rejected. Here are the details;

Shea Pendleton’s $27 million wrongful death law suit against the city of Goodyear is going forward based upon recent rulings by US District Court Judge John W. Sedwick. The city of Goodyear’s attempt to have Shea Pendleton’s law suit against the city and other defendants including Brad Hardin dismissed was mostly rejected by Judge Sedwick.

Instead, Sedwick agreed with Pendleton that most of the claims she has made deserve resolution in court and that her lawsuit should proceed and that a jury should decide the outcome.

Goodyear had argued that;

  1. the facts were not disputed in the case. The US District Court disagreed.
  2. there was no evidence that Hardin caused Pendleton’s death. The court disagreed.
  3. there was no evidence that Hardin may have acted recklessly. The court disagreed.
  4. that the city was not negligent. The court disagreed.
  5. that there was no evidence of a conspiracy following Pendleton’s death and that the plaintiffs did not identify an underlying tort or wrongful act. The court agreed that no tort was identified and dismissed this claim against the city.
  6. that the plaintiff did not show that their constitutional rights were violated by any city policies or lack of training. The court agreed.
  7. that the statue of limitations had expired on Pendleton’s claims against the city. The court disagreed.

Here is the entire ruling. summary judgement

The only good news is that there is a way to solve these problems and more in the city of Goodyear;

422 days and counting until Goodyear residents get to take back Goodyear city council from special interest groups like union PACs, developers, and other business PACs (Georgia’s Money) and start to return Goodyear to fiscal sanity. The terms of the three “creeker” incumbents, Campbell, Gelzer, and Lord expire in 2013 as well as former GY employee Joe Pizzilo’s term.

Goodyear city council elections; May 15, 2013.

Goodyear city council primary elections; March 12, 2013.

Deadline for petitions to run for council; December, 2012.

Goodyear needs FOUR honest, intelligent, candidates to run against these government cronies in city council and mayor. Who is going to step up?

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3 Responses

  1. John Fischbach has resigned effective April 1, 2012. Sent in an email to city employees and council last night at 21:47.

  2. Howard, You are providing a great public service. Thank you for your outstanding investigative reporting and blogging. This whole situation is shameful but follows a well-established decades old pattern in the state. They were following SOP and it’s time to get ALL these officials out of office and their offices cleaned up.

  3. Add Officer Bryant to the list of lawsuits… and those listed are ONLY the high profile ones…

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