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Posted August 23, 2012 | comments 1 Comment

Former library director's lawsuit shelved

By Sally Voth svoth@nvdaily.com

A federal judge has dismissed former Shenandoah County Library Director Robert Pasco's $14.35 million lawsuit against his former employers and employee.

On Aug. 17, U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski threw out the petition against the Shenandoah County Library, its board of trustees, trustees Chairman Hank Zimmerman and technology director James Dallas Moore, according to online court records.

The library board fired Pasco in October 2010 following a fight with Moore in which the technology director grabbed two external hard drives used by Pasco, according to the suit.

Pasco's suit claimed the hard drives contained "sensitive" library information, as well as Pasco's tax records, family research, pictures and other personal files. One drive belonged to him, the other to the library, and Pasco tried to grab them back from Moore, who threw them to the ground, smashing them.

Pasco's suit claims problems had arisen between him and Moore due to the latter's "unnatural interest in Keith Brown, another employee at the Library, during the summer of 2010." Moore planned to turn over the hard drives to the county administrator, according to court records.

While Pasco fired Moore, the latter was later given his job back.

Pasco claims his civil rights were violated. His suit alleges the seizure of his hard drive was a violation of his constitutional rights, that the defendants committed "computer trespass" and that Moore assaulted him and his behavior was accepted by the library board.

Last week, Urbanski granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, stating in his memorandum opinion that while Moore may have violated state law, "there is no discernible violation of federal law by Moore upon which to hold Zimmerman, the Library and the Board liable."

"As there can be no plausible claim that this interpersonal tantrum was motivated by state action, the federal claim asserted must be dismissed," the opinion states.

Acting on his own, Moore cannot violate the Fourth, Fifth or Fourteenth amendments, according to the opinion.

"The dispute at the center of this case concerns issues of Virginia, and not federal, law," the opinion states.

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