IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a state regulator who alleged he was fired for investigating a gas station chain’s pricing practices.
The court ruled Wednesday that Michael Manahl “deserves a chance” to have jurors decide whether he was fired for investigating Dubuque-based Molo Petroleum.
The court said “fair inferences exist” that Manahl’s boss at the Iowa Department of Agriculture wasn’t happy with his consumer fraud inquiry into Molo, which operates Big 10 Mart Convenience Stores.
Manahl was hired in 2012 as the department’s weights and measures bureau chief. He was fired when his six-month probationary period expired.
Manahl objected to Molo’s practice of selling the same octane fuel at different prices. Molo denied wrongdoing, complaining to Manahl’s bosses he was unfairly hurting its reputation.
State lawyers say Manahl was fired for performance.