United States District Judge William Martinez has denied the Board of County Commissioners’ motion to dismiss Nicole Garner’s, Maria Chavez’ and Chelsa Parsons’ civil lawsuit against Lake County Government.

The women, all of whom worked as dispatchers under former Sheriff Rod Fenske and Undersheriff Fernando Mendoza, are suing the county for unlawful sex discrimination, retaliation and violations of rights to free speech and equal protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The relationship between Lake County Government and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is discussed at length in the county’s motion. Questions like whether the BOCC exercises actual or de facto control over LCSO and whether the BOCC and LCSO are joint employers will be addressed in court further down the road.

Martinez’ denial of the motion to dismiss was based on legal arguments, not evidence from the case. Evidence is still being gathered; the case is still in the discovery period.

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