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Amendment to D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act Ruled Retroactive

In Winder v. Erste, Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of whistleblower Alfred Winder, holding that the 2009 amendment to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act should be applied retroactively to pending cases before the courts.  The amendment altered the governing statute of limitations period and specified that D.C. Code Section 12-309, which contains the notice requirement, no longer applied to any “civil action brought under this section.”

In 1999, Winder was hired as General Manager of the DCPS Division of Transportation where he oversaw the operation of transportation services for special education students in the District.  He was specifically brought in to assist the District in complying with several court orders.  Winder alleges he was fired while on medical leave, because of disagreements regarding compliance with those court orders.

Winder’s original complaint was dismissed for failing to meet this notice requirement.  Quoting Montgomery v. Dist. Of Columbia, this court wrote, “unless a contrary legislative intent appears, changes in statutory law which pertain only to procedure are generally held to apply to pending cases.”  As a result, Winder is allowed to pursue his original complaint alleging that the D.C. Public Schools violated his rights as a whistleblower under the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act.

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