Arroyo Grande lawsuit to go to trial



Nearly two years to the day after it was initially filed, a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the Arroyo Grande Police Department and its chief may finally head to trial.

As of press time, a trial setting conference for Kimberly Martin’s lawsuit against the department and its chief is scheduled to go before Superior Court Judge Dodie Harman on Sept. 13 at the San Luis Obispo Superior Courthouse.

Jay Hieatt, who is representing the city in the matter, told New Times that despite the slow pace of the proceedings, the upcoming hearing is likely to finally result in a trial date.

According to the suit filed in September 2010, Martin—a 13-year veteran of the force and 2002 Officer of the Year—claims Chief Steve Annibali sexually discriminated against her when she was repeatedly passed up for promotions in favor of his “golden boys,” or favorite male officers. She further alleges to have not received support for a work-related back injury.

Furthermore, Martin argues she was retaliated against inside the department and even had an investigation against her leveled by the county district attorney’s office—allegedly at the request of Annibali—when she complained. That investigation went nowhere.

In response, the city said there was no merit to Martin’s allegations and promised to defend against the suit.

According to Arroyo Grande’s human resources department, Martin remains employed by the city, though she’s been out of the office on disability for a little more than two years.

Martin’s lawsuit is one of three similar suits against the department currently making its way through the courts.

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