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Summer trial set for lawsuit against library

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- A jury trial has been set for late summer in the case of a former Shenandoah County Library director suing the library and its board of trustees in U.S. District Court.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski set a trial date of Sept. 18-19 in the case of Robert Pasco vs. the Shenandoah County Library, its board of trustees, trustees Chairman Hank Zimmerman and technology director James Dallas Moore, according to online court records.

Pasco, who now has a home in Bath, according to his lawsuit, says he deserves $14.35 million for job discrimination. He was fired in October 2010 following a physical altercation with Moore.

Pasco's suit says he reprimanded Moore for tardiness on Oct. 1. Later that day, it says, Moore came into Pasco's office, pushed him and took two external computer hard drives.

The library's hard drive contained sensitive library information, such as personnel data and patron information, while the other had Pasco's tax records, family research, photos and other personal files, according to the suit.

Pasco tried to get the computer equipment back, but Moore threw the drives to the ground, it says.

"Defendant Moore later told Defendant Zimmerman that he was seizing the computer hard-drives in an effort to use information he falsely claimed was on them against Plaintiff in an effort to get Plaintiff terminated," the suit says.

It says that Moore said Pasco assaulted him and he was going to police. During the altercation, Pasco got a bloody nose and a cut above his eye.

Deciding that Moore presented a possible danger to others, Pasco fired him, according to the complaint. It says Moore lied to police, saying Pasco had assaulted him, which in turn broke Pasco's trust in Moore.

After a grievance hearing for Moore on Oct. 7, Zimmerman asked Pasco to resign, according to the lawsuit.

Pasco refused, and was fired several days later.

All of the defendants in the case have filed motions for it to be dismissed. Moore's motion says the suit fails to state a claim or cause of action violating Pasco's civil rights.

The library is a government function and immune to lawsuits, according to the board of trustees' response. Zimmerman's says he didn't violate the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, and the library's response says Virginia law doesn't provide for the right to continued employment.

Last week, Pasco successfully moved for an eight-day extension to file a response to their motions. It's now due Jan. 17, according to court records. The defense didn't object to the extension.

A hearing on the motions to dismiss is scheduled for Feb. 7, according to court records.

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