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Sean Miner v. City of Roseville et al

May 10, 2011

SEAN MINER, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF ROSEVILLE ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS.



(Super. Ct. No. SCV-25468)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson , J.

Miner v. City of Roseville

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Terminated as a Roseville Police Department officer for insubordination and dishonesty, Sean Miner appealed to the City of Roseville Personnel Board. That Board concluded that Miner was insubordinate and dishonest and upheld the termination. Miner petitioned the trial court for a writ of administrative mandamus, and the trial court, exercising its independent judgment, found Miner was insubordinate and dishonest and concluded that termination was not an abuse of the City's discretion. Miner appeals.

On appeal, Miner contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to establish insubordination and dishonesty, (2) the Board abused its discretion in terminating him, and (3) he is entitled to attorney fees. None of his contentions has merit. Therefore, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Miner was a K-9 officer with the Roseville Police Department. On July 1, 2008, he trained with his dog and the K-9 team at Orchid Suites Hotel, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The team then agreed to meet at the Sierra Gardens Elementary School to continue the training. Miner misunderstood and went to the Eich Middle School, which is connected to Sierra Gardens by a greenbelt. Finding himself alone and after attempting unsuccessfully to contact the other team members, Miner went back to the police department. Meanwhile, the other team members continued training at Sierra Gardens.

Miner later testified concerning what he did after he got separated from the other K-9 team members: After his return to the police department, Miner used the restroom, checked e-mails, practiced with his dog at the firing range, broke down his gun, and placed his gun in the gun locker for cleaning. He then went to the fairgrounds, where he trained with the dog. Some, but not all, of these activities were corroborated by other evidence, such as logging onto the computer to check e-mails and placing the gun in the gun locker.

Miner left the department to go home before 10:00 p.m. Telephone records show that he received a cell phone call which connected through a cell tower while he was on Interstate 80, on his way home, at 9:19 p.m.

Sometime before or on July 9, 2008, Miner turned in a "Roseville Police Department K-9 Unit Training Report." These reports document K-9 training activities and must be accurate because they may be used in criminal or civil proceedings related to the actions of K-9 officers or their dogs.

In the training report, Miner stated that, on July 1, he put in four hours of overtime, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. He reported that he participated in training at Orchid Suites Hotel (which was correct) and Sierra Gardens (which he did not). Concerning training at the fairgrounds, Miner stated in the report that he trained his dog with the assistance of an agitator, someone who acts as the subject of the dog's attention (which was also incorrect because there was no agitator present).

The training report resulted in an internal affairs investigation. In an interview, Miner admitted that it was not true that he had trained at Sierra Gardens on July 1 or that he had the assistance of an agitator when he trained at the fairgrounds. He stated that he had fallen behind in filling out reports so he copied other reports. However, no other report was found with the same descriptions of training. Miner stated that copying from the other reports was a "'mistake.'"

After review of the investigation by the police chief and the city manager, the City terminated Miner. In doing so, it cited violations of various personnel rules. Some of the cited violations were falsifying work records, theft (based on claiming more time than worked), dishonesty, and insubordination (for lying in the internal affairs investigation).

Miner appealed to the City of Roseville Personnel Board, which heard evidence and issued a statement of findings and decision upholding the termination.

During the hearing, Miner continued to claim that he had copied other officers' reports, stating that he had not copied word-for-word but had "'grabbed the essence'" of the reports. He testified that he believed the ...


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