Judge to allow trial in wrongful termination suit
Leslie Ludtke's lawsuit against Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny and Deputy Commissioner Alexander Feldvebel can proceed as a wrongful termination case because of a recent ruling by Judge Larry Smukler in Merrimack County Superior Court.
"We're very pleased. It means we get our day in court," said her attorney, Charles G. Douglas. "She gets to be able to have a jury decide whether politics or competitive bidding rules should be the law of land."
After the Insurance Department issued a request for bid proposals to find the best insurance exchange model for the state and develop a plan to implement it, the department recommended Wakely Consulting Group, a Massachusetts firm.
Ludtke says she was fired for disagreeing with Sevigny, who wanted to then offer a no-bid contract to another firm that would be more palatable to the council.
Senior Assistant Nancy Smith, who represents the state Insurance Department in the lawsuit, said the court has made it clear that Ludtke was an employee who served at the will of the insurance commissioner.
"(The commissioner) didn't have to have cause to terminate her, and it was not in bad faith, with malice or in retaliation," Smith said.
But Douglas disagreed.
"After the Insurance Department ran into political problems, they wanted her to come up with a solution that went around competitive bidding laws."
Because the pleadings document "a genuine dispute of the material facts underlying (Ludtke's) termination," Smukler denied the motion to find in favor of the state.