Pinoy dentist sues Virginia Beach over rights violation
A Filipino dentist has sued the City of Virginia Beach for violating his constitutional rights when it allegedly asked him to relocate his clinic in 2014 but did not pay him.
A report on Hampton Roads' WAVY said Dr. Allan Bergano is seeking $475,000 from the city, saying it was the amount he spent for moving his practice from North Witchduck road due to the city's road widening project.
Bergano's ordeal began in 2014 when the city bought the building in which he established his clinic 32 years ago, and asked him to relocate with the help of the Department of Human Services.
"At first I said, OK I completely understand, limited parking, closing of the street and all the city services,” said Bergano in an earlier WAVY report. "Then they told me I only qualified for $25,000 whereas my colleagues were getting anywhere between $250,000-$500,000."
His situation worsened in 2015 when the city rescinded their offer and told him he would no longer need to relocate, leaving him with no relocation money and two leases to pay off.
City attorney Michael Beverly released a statement arguing that Bergano's situation differed from his colleagues, as their buildings were later demolished and his remained standing and available for use.
Bergano had already sued the city, but his charges were brought up to federal court.
One of Bergano's attorneys, Brian Kunze, said in the trial held on Tuesday that Bergano was not given time to appeal the city denying him his relocation benefits.
“The city has deprived the Berganos of due process by taking their property without giving them fair hearing, and that’s why we are here today to prove to the judge,” Kunze said.
City Right of Way Agent Gail Salmons had to admit that Bergano was never given the opportunity to appeal the city's decision to remove his relocation benefits, though City Manager David Hansen said the city was only following established procedures.
Hunter Sims, the city's hired attorney, argued that Bergano was no longer entitled to relocation benefits once he was told that he could stay in his Witchduck office.
At the motions hearing in 2016, the judge said Bergano was "treated very unfairly by the city" and that "the city has an obligation to treat" the doctor fairly. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News