DePaepe's attorney files tort claim against city

ST. JOSEPH CO., Ind. -- The attorney for Karen DePaepe, Scott Duerring of Duerring Law Offices, gave notice to the City of South Bend through a Notice of Tort Claim that DePaepe may sue the city.

This notice was filed on Thursday morning with the City of South Bend over the firing of his client.

It states that they feel the firing violated DePaepe's civil rights and that she was wrongfully terminated after reporting scandalous behavior inside the department:

"Acting entirely within the scope of her duties as Communications Director, Ms. DePaepe discovered a ranking officer of the South Bend Police Department, as well as others within the Police Department, were engaged in serious acts of misconduct. The acts of misconduct ranged from the potential commission of criminal offenses to serious breaches of City policies and procedures. The content of some conversations contain racially derogatory statements relating to other ranking officers. None of these discussions had anything to with legitimate law enforcement, and yet were done during the hours that the individuals were being paid to perform duties for the citu. Many of these discussions related to schemes regarding how to influence the then incoming, now current, Mayor to place individuals in positions of power with the Police Department, including the ouster and replacement of former Chief of Police, Darryl Boykins. Upon the discovery, Ms. DePaepe reported this information through proper channels to the Chief of Police. As a result she was fired."

In the document, the attorney notes that the extent of damages is not yet able to be figured, as she suffered "violations of her constitutional rights, due process violations, a wrongful and public termination, loss of employability, damage to her character and reputation, financial, and related charges."

The document also cites that DePaepe was a 25-year veteran city employee and had no write-ups or reprimands on her employment record. Her employment file with the South Bend Police Department actually contains "commendation after commendation for a job well done."

The notice allows the City of South Bend 90 days to respond to Duerring in regards to this matter and settle out of court. After that time, if an agreement has not been reached, they will file suit.

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