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Court: ex-sheriff's officials can sue over firings

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A state appeals court has ruled that five former top Orange County Sheriff's Department officials can proceed with a lawsuit claiming they were wrongly fired.

The Orange County Register says (http://bit.ly/1hLCxtt) Thursday's decision reverses the ruling of a trial judge, who threw out most of the claims in 2012.

An attorney for the five, Joel Baruch, tells the newspaper he believes there's a chance the county and the sheriff will settle rather than go to trial.

The lawsuit claims the five were fired for personal reasons, including their association with ex-Sheriff Mike Carona. It says Sheriff Sandra Hutchens used a budget shortfall as a pretext for the firings. Hutchens characterized the dismissals of top administrators as layoffs and said they saved the county millions.

Sheriff's officials did not immediately comment on Thursday's ruling.


Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

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