Five Years Too Long For Retaliation

Patrick Giglio was a police officer for the State of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. In 2000, Giglio brought a successful lawsuit against Edward Connole, a former employee of the Department.

In 2005, Giglio was involved in an incident where he used pepper spray on a mentally ill subject. The Department eventually terminated Giglio over his conduct during the incident. Giglio responded with a lawsuit alleging that his termination was in retaliation for the first lawsuit, and that participating in a lawsuit constitutes protected speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A federal court dismissed Giglio’s lawsuit. The Court found that too long a period of time lapsed to allow any reasonable inference that Giglio’s termination was attributable to the lawsuit. The Court commented “the causal connection is temporally too attenuated. No reasonable jury could consider the five years between the conclusion of the previous litigation and the investigation in question to be sufficient to warrant an inference that the protected speech was a substantial motivating factor.”

Giglio v. Derman, 2008 WL 2468743 (D.Conn. 2008).

This article appears in the August 2008 issue