Fired pilot files lawsuit against state

CARSON CITY -- A fired state pilot filed a lawsuit Friday that accuses the Department of Transportation and its director, Susan Martinovich, of defying a court order to reinstate him with back pay.

Martinovich did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

James Richardson was fired as state pilot in August 2008 after he failed to notify his supervisor that an engine on one of the state planes had "over-sped." An over-speeding engine is considered a safety threat by the Federal Aviation Administration. The engine should have been inspected before the plane flew again.

Richardson said the plane was inspected later and found to be working normally.

He challenged his dismissal, and a state hearing officer ordered his rehiring. The department, however, appealed that decision through Carson City District Court and the Nevada Supreme Court.

Last year, both courts ordered that Richardson be rehired.

Richardson alleges that Martinovich illegally created a new position for him and that he would not be allowed to fly in that position.

He said the Transportation Department has ordered him to report for work by Wednesday or be fired.

On Friday, Richardson said he is owed $250,000 in back pay, with attorney fees.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3900.