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Former deputy wins wrongful termination lawsuit against county

Posted at 10:30 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-13 12:17:24-04

A former Nueces County sheriff’s deputy who was fired has won his lawsuit against the county.

KRIS 6 News has been following this story since Sept. 2016, just several months after Joshua Sorensen was terminated from the sheriff’s office. According to Sheriff Jim Kaelin, Sorenson was fired for leaving a loaded gun in the dressing room of a department store. Sorensen admitted to it, but called it “an honest mistake.”

Sorensen unsuccessfully appealed his termination to the county’s Civil Service Commission.

His lawsuit alleged that the commission intentionally destroyed or lost an audio recording of his appeal hearing. The county said the recording equipment simply malfunctioned and it wasn’t discovered until after the hearing.

The commission also argued that Sorensen be offered a new hearing for his appeal, as opposed to a reversal of its decision to uphold the termination. However, Judge Juan Magallanes ruled that it should be reversed.

Magallanes ordered that Sorensen be reinstated to his position with full back pay and benefits from July 2016, when he was fired. Sorensen was also awarded more than $25,000 in court costs and attorney’s fees.

It’s unclear if the county plans to appeal the court’s ruling.