COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia has agreed to settle the wrongful termination lawsuit brought against it by former Columbia Emergency Management Director Zim Schwartze. The trial was set to begin Monday.
Attorneys for Schwartze requested the court cancel the trial because a settlement had been reached, according to court documents.
Senior U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the Western District of Missouri dismissed the suit with prejudice, which means the dismissal is final and Schwartze cannot bring the suit again at a later date in any court. The case can be reopened within 45 days if parties cannot reach an agreement, according to the court order.
Details of the settlement have not yet been made public. Schwartze initially sought roughly $450,000 in lost wages, benefits and punitive damages, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Schwartze was fired from her position as emergency management director in May 2012. She had been in the position since 2009.
Schwartze alleged that she was fired for statements she made about Police Chief Ken Burton. City Manager Mike Matthes said that Schwartze was terminated for budgetary reasons.
Schwartze filed the suit in early 2014 against the city, Burton, Matthes and Deputy City Counselor Cavanaugh Noce.
Schwartze served in the Columbia Police Department for 21 years and became Columbia's first female police captain by 2003, according to previous Missourian reporting. She was hired to manage emergency communications in Springfield in late 2012 after her termination in Columbia.
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