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Florida Keys News
Friday, July 18, 2014
MCSO moves to toss case

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office moved this week to have a former Trauma Star helicopter pilot's lawsuit tossed from federal court.

Luke Savage, the Miami-based attorney representing the sheriff's office, wrote in court documents that former pilot David Clark essentially filed his claim in the wrong court -- federal court -- when he should have filed it in Florida state court.

Clark claims he was fired in February 2012 due to age discrimination and due to sheriff's office allegations that he took part in drug-smuggling operations, allegations that he denies.

His attorney argued that previous, similar federal cases show that "federal procedural due process claims are unavailable to a plaintiff where, as here, state law provides adequate alternative remedies," according to court records.

Clark's side had not filed a response as of press time.

U.S. Chief District Judge James Lawrence King has not yet set a tentative trial date.

Clark was brought on board as a reserve pilot from June 28, 2011, to Feb. 12, 2012. During that time he applied for the chief pilot position, but was never granted the job. He was later fired after he told a supervisor he sold an airplane to a person who was later arrested on drug trafficking charges, according to court records.

Clark and another man had been in the business of buying and refurbishing seized aircraft that were sold by the sheriff's office and Drug Enforcement Administration, according to his attorney, Ware Cornell of Weston.

Neither man was ever involved in drug trafficking, Cornell previously told The Citizen.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Sheriff's Office Aviation Division Director Brooks Bateman are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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