Late Allegheny County health director’s lawsuit to proceed

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A Common Pleas Court judge ruled Friday that a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the late Bruce Dixon, former director of the Allegheny County Health Department, is allowed to go forward.

Attorneys for the county had asked that the suit be tossed out, and added additional objections to its continuation after Dr. Dixon died last year.

However, Judge Christine Ward said Friday that the case can be pursued by Dr. Dixon’s estate.

The original lawsuit, filed in April 2012, claimed wrongful termination after Dr. Dixon said county Executive Rich Fitzgerald fired him without authority to do so.

He asked for reinstatement, but Dr. Dixon died in February 2013 while the civil case was pending.

His estate sought to continue the case after his death, but attorneys for the county argued that there was no standing.

Judge Ward overruled that objection, as well as a number of others, including that Dr. Dixon’s claim for a violation of the whistleblower act was insufficient.

The case will now move into the discovery phase.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Fitzgerald had no comment.

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