A longtime Chrysler Corp. employee fired for theft has lost his bid for damages for malicious prosecution, conspiracy, defamation, emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
A federal judge in Detroit found no legal grounds for allegations that Chrysler violated the rights of Michael Moroni, who was discharged in 1994 for stealing parts, including engines, transmissions and a computer.
U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood rejected all of Moroni's claims against the company and two of its security managers.
The decision leaves unresolved Chrysler's bid to recover the parts.
According to Hood, Moroni was arrested on charges of receiving and concealing stolen property. Once in court, however, the evidence seized at his home was suppressed and the criminal case was dismissed without trial.
Chrysler fired Moroni, who was then working at the company's Auburn Hills technical center.
Moroni filed a wrongful discharge grievance with the UAW. After a hearing, an arbitrator upheld the termination on the basis that Moroni had misappropriated company property and had Chry-sler-owned parts in his possession at his home.
When Chrysler sued to recoup the parts, Moroni countersued. The automaker's U.S. District Court complaint does not specify the value of the parts at issue.
In her decision, Hood ruled that Moroni failed to establish that Chrysler and its security managers had any improper motives in pursuing the criminal charges.
She also said the collective bargaining agreement and the arbitration decision preclude some of Moroni's claims. For example, the arbitration finding that Moroni misappropriated Chrysler property means he can't prove defamation, invasion of privacy or conspiracy to defame his reputation.
Hood also threw out Moroni's claims against investigators for the state police and Oakland County (Mich.) Sheriff's Department.
Moroni declined to discuss the case in detail, but said he was the victim of injustice. He denied any theft.
'I don't plan to appeal. I can't fight their money. They destroyed me financially. They took away my 22 years with Chrysler,' he said.
Mark Miller, a Detroit lawyer representing Chrysler in the case, said, 'We're deciding whether to continue pursuing him or to try to reach some kind of agreement.
'He has some property we'd like to get back,' Miller said, adding that Moroni was ordered to hold onto the allegedly stolen material until the civil suit is resolved. 'As far as Chrysler is concerned, when someone steals parts, we want to get them back.'