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Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Court Whistleblower Emily Gallup's Lawsuit to Move Forward

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM

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A former mediator in California's family courts who says she was fired after criticizing court procedures has been cleared to pursue legal claims as a whistle-blower against her former bosses.

Emily Gallup, who was fired from her job as a mediator in Nevada County Family Court last year, asserts that she was retaliated against by superiors for complaining about court officials' methods for adjudicating disputed child-custody cases. Records show Gallup was reprimanded for digging too deeply into parents' backgrounds -- including requesting criminal-history checks -- before making recommendations for custody plans to judges.

Her criticism of her employer echoed widespread complaints that the state's family courts do not adequately investigate parents' potential for criminal behavior, particularly child abuse. In March, SF Weekly published a cover story documenting four family-court cases in which judges awarded custody to physically or sexually abusive parents.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi ruled that three of Gallup's five claims against Nevada County's court could move forward, according to The Union of Grass Valley.

Gallup tells SF Weekly that among those claims are her assertions that she was punished as a whistle-blower.

"The really good news is that the whistle-blower claims are going forward," she says. "I'll be arguing that I was asked to do my job in a way that conflicted with the law."

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Peter Jamison

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