Local News

Whistleblower claims of former medical examiner manager dismissed

Posted March 12, 2015

Kevin Gerity claims he was forced out of the Office of the State Medical Examiner in 2013 because he aided investigations into mishandling of evidence during autopsies.
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— A state judge on Thursday dismissed the claims of a former manager at the Office of the State Medical Examiner who said he was forced out because he told investigators that a state pathologist mishandled evidence in a homicide.

Kevin Gerity sued the state Department of Health and Human Services under the Whistleblower Act, seeking to regain his job and $400,000 in damages.

A former autopsy manager, Gerity was working with his boss, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, in 2011 on the autopsy of Terrell Boykin, one of two people killed in a Fayetteville home on May 8, 2011. His homicide remains unsolved.

Nichols' autopsy report said no bullet was found, but Gerity claimed Nichols missed a bullet fragment and left it on the table. Gerity said he took the matter up the chain of command in the medical examiner's office after Nichols refused to change his report, but no action was taken.

Nichols was fired in November 2013 following a DHHS investigation. Gerity resigned after the investigation so that he wouldn't be fired, but he later argued that he was fired in retaliation for cooperating with a State Bureau of Investigation review of the case.

Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. ruled that Gerity's activities don't amount to a whistleblower claim because he never shared his concerns with authorities outside DHHS or the media. Further, the judge said, the discovery of a bullet fragment didn't necessarily mean Nichols' report was inaccurate and needed to be changed.

Morrison determined that Gerity voluntarily resigned and doesn't deserve any damages or reinstatement to his job.

Gerity has 30 days to appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals.

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