Bob Agacinski Files Whistleblower Suit Against Chief Justice Young, Attorney Grievance Commission
Former head of the Attorney Grievance Commission Robert Agacinski filed a whistleblower suit today in the Wayne County Circuit Court alleging wrongful termination. The Michigan Supreme Court fired Agacinski months ago, and Agacinski now claims that he was fired for bringing to the Commission's attention emails allegedly written by his subordinates that may have violated Michigan's Elliot-Larson Civil Rights Act.
"LANSING — The former administrator of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission is suing the chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and other parties, alleging he was unlawfully fired in May after discovering and reporting inappropriate and illegal e-mails sent by subordinates in his office.
Robert Agacinski’s whistleblower lawsuit, which names Chief Justice Robert Young, Jr. and all nine members of the Attorney Grievance Commission as defendants, was filed late Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Agacinski alleges he had performed his job in an [']exemplary manner[' for 14 years when in February he discovered e-mails sent by subordinates that he believed violated the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the commission’s computer use policies.
E-mails cited in the complaint are laced with profanity. In one, an elderly commission employee is referred to as a [']prune faced nincompoop moron...,['] another uses insulting and derogatory terms to describe a female employee, and a third refers to an employee as [']weird and gross,['] and a [']pervert.['] The complaint doesn’t identify who sent or received the e-mails or who they reference.
Agacinski says he reported the e-mails to commission chairwoman Barbara Smith in late February, believing she would alert the chief justice and they would [']investigate and remedy the improper and unlawful conduct.[']
But the commission hired an attorney who was [']a close personal friend['] of Smith to investigate the e-mails, the complaint alleges. After the report was presented to the commission in April, instead of disciplining the employees, Agacinski was fired by Young with no reason placed in his personnel file.
The commission is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Michigan Supreme Court, handling allegations of attorney misconduct.
Joel Sklar, Agacinski’s Detroit attorney, said Agacinski, who was paid more than $100,000 a year, was fired during a brief meeting with Young and his understanding is that no reason was given.
[']The people who regulate unlawful conduct are not free from regulation themselves,['] Sklar said today. [']The litigation seeks to hold people accountable, if in fact there was a violation of the law.[']
John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court, declined to comment except to say that the order dismissing Agacinski was a unanimous order of the seven-member court.
In a May 2 news release, the court said the firing [']reflects a desire by the Supreme Court to improve operations of the AGC and speed the resolution of pending cases.[']
Smith could not immediately be reached for comment."