Watchdog’s Attorney Amends Wrongful Discharge Suit Against Courant, Tribune To Include Violation of Mission Statement

November 5, 2009
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New Haven employment lawyer Joseph D. Garrison has amended my wrongful discharge lawsuit against The Courant and its parent Tribune Co. by claiming that I was fired for following the Courant’s written News Mission statement.

Notice of filing of first amended complaint (PDF)

First amended complaint (PDF)

Earlier report

The News Mission statement was developed in early 2002 by a group of editors and reporters (including me) as a code by which we expected ourselves to follow. We published the statement and it is still on The Courant’s website as what I consider a promise to readers.

“The Hartford Courant seeks to provide the news Connecticut needs, reported faithfully and fully, with respect for all and favor to none,” it says in part. It also says it’s up to The Courant: “To raise issues aggressively and constructively, and to expose inefficiency, injustice and corruption in matters of public interest;”

“To extend the circle of public debate as widely as possible, by reflecting the diversity of Connecticut’s people and by seeking out voices that often are ignored;” and “To guard against arrogance and complacency, and to be open to criticism, remembering our responsibility as the state’s largest newspaper.”

The News Mission concluded by stating: “We believe that by striving toward these goals with fairness, honesty and compassion, we will benefit the public life of the state and enrich the private lives of our readers.”

The amended suit alleges that I “did reasonably rely on compliance with the Mission’s goals as protection” and that my “employment with the Courant was terminated as a result” of my compliance with the News Mission.

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