Whistleblower’s lawsuit settled

A 2014 whistleblower lawsuit brought against Cameron County and its attorney by former deputy clerk Leticia Perez has settled, according to an update posted in the case’s file this week.

A note entered into court records on Wednesday stated that Perez’s attorney Javier Peña notified the court that the case had settled. An additional update posted the same day stated that Peña informed the court that Cameron County attorney Juan Gonzalez had been “non-suited” as an individual defendant in the case.

Both Peña and an attorney representing Gonzalez and the Cameron County Clerk’s Office appeared before Judge Fred Hinojosa in the 103rd state District Court to argue motions in the case on Feb. 10.

The county’s attorney argued that Gonzalez could not be sued as an individual. Peña disagreed, prompting the judge to set a hearing for Feb. 19 to argue motions. He ordered each attorney to prepare depositions for a March trial.

Neither Peña nor the Cameron County Legal Team responded to requests for comment regarding the case’s settlement. A jury trial scheduled for March 2 was listed as canceled. Under the section listing the reason for its cancellation, the county wrote, “Settlement.”

Perez sued the county and its attorney, Juan A. Gonzalez, in 2014, alleging that former County Clerk Joe G. Rivera fired her after she reported potential illegal activity to the FBI and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

The case was dismissed with prejudice by the trial court and sent to the 13th Court of Appeals, which reversed the court’s decision in November 2018 and remanded the case back to the 103rd state District Court in Cameron County.