Even as Acting Mayor Kim Janey was preparing yesterday to announce Dennis White's firing, a city attorney was filing paperwork to have his wrongful-termination suit moved from state to federal court.
In its motion to move the case, the city argues it belongs in federal court because White alleges the firing violates his due-process rights under the US Constitution.
The move, if approved by a judge in US District Court in Boston, might also shorten the overall amount of time it takes to decide the case by potentially eliminating months, if not years, of state-court procedures that could then be appealed in federal court.
The motion was filed by Kay Hodge, an outside attorney Janey had earlier hired to help with the case. Hodge has worked for the city before: She led the School Committee's successful defense of its decision not to use exams for exam-school admissions for the coming year and conducted an investigation in 2017 into sexual-harassment charges against Felix Arroyo, then the city's chief of health and human services.
White originally sued to stop his firing a couple hours after Janey called him on May 14 to tell him she would hold a required hearing and then fire him because of a critical report on domestic-violence allegations against him by another outside attorney hired by the city.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge denied his request for an emergency injunction to block the firing while his case proceeded, a decision upheld two days later by a judge on the Massachusetts Appeals Court.