Federal Judge Sets Hedquist-Patterson Trial For December
A federal lawsuit filed more than two years ago by a former Casper city councilman against the former city manager will go to trial in December, according to court documents.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson set the civil rights trial of Craig Hedquist and John Patterson for three weeks at the federal courthouse in Cheyenne beginning Dec. 5.
"These deadlines will not be changed absent compelling or extraordinary circumstances," Johnson wrote in a pretrial order last week.
The trial had been set in November 2014 for January 2016. Both parties have agreed to keep settlement terms, if any, confidential.
Hedquist sued Patterson after confrontations over a land matter involving the Boys & Girls Club and the Natrona County School District, secret recordings of Hedquist about his construction company, unsuccessfully asking Casper police officers to bug his locker, and questions about conflicts of interest.
Later that year, six of eight council members voted informally to ask Hedquist to resign, who declined. In September 2014, council declined to pursue Hedquist’s request for an investigation into Patterson and it passed a code of ethics, which most council members said ended the Hedquist controversy.
Hedquist eventually resigned in July 2015. Patterson resigned in November.
In the federal lawsuit, Hedquist asserts Patterson retaliated against him -- violating First and 14th Amendment rights -- for freely speaking about city management after his election in November 2012.
“Patterson’s retaliation has included, but is not limited to, instigating the two investigations and filing the Petition to have Hedquist removed from his elected office,” according to the amended complaint.
Patterson has denied the allegations.
In November, Hedquist through his attorney John Robinson filed an amended complaint, saying some city officials waged a retaliation campaign that cost his construction company thousands of dollars of business.