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Former airport employee's lawsuit tossed

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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 10:45 pm

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former airport employee alleging he was fired on the basis of national origin.

Former interim airport manager Seshai Sai Vorrey sued the City of Brownsville in late 2017 alleging that city officials discriminated against him because he is from India before firing him.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez disagreed, ruling on Jan. 11 that Vorrey failed to prove alleged racially charged remarks made by former City Manager Charlie Cabler, who is now running for mayor, influenced Brownsville South Padre Island Airport Director Bryant Walker's decision to fire Vorrey.

"Mr. Vorrey does not allege that Mr. Walker, who made the adverse decision and refused to sign the visa application even knew about the remarks," Rodriguez wrote in his decision.

Court documents reveal that Walker lost confidence in Vorrey, who Walker believed forged his signature on an immigration form without his consent in order to have his visa renewed.

"Mr. Walker states that he is terminating Mr. Vorrey as a result of allegations of misconduct reported on or about December 11, 2016, and on or about December 21, 2016," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Walker states he has lost confidence in Mr. Vorrey's credibility and his ability to carry out the duties and functions of the position he held at the airport at the time of his termination."

In a Department of Justice complaint The Brownsville Herald obtained through a Texas Public Information Act, Vorrey had accused city staff of discriminating against him because he is Indian.

"I am being discriminated against by my employer the City of Brownsville, because of my National Origin, my citizenship status and the City is refusing to approve and sign my job description to complete my response to Immigration by my December 24, 2016, deadline," Vorrey alleged in the complaint. "The City is intentionally interfering with my documents needed to renew my work visa by withholding my job description so that I will miss my deadline."

Walker denied those allegations, saying in court documents that Vorrey failed to timely make necessary corrections to the job description.

The City of Brownsville asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed nearly a year ago, arguing that Vorrey failed to state a claim.

Rodriguez dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice for lack of jurisdiction and for failing to state a claim, court records show.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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