Suit Settled?

According to documents filed in Federal Court, at least some of the defendants named in the law suit filed by former Lenoir City codes enforcement officer, Leslie Johnson, have been dismissed from the suit.

Plaintiff Leslie K. Johnson and Defendants Lenoir City, Tennessee, Tony R. Aikens, Don White, and W. Dale Hurst have moved the Court for an order dismissing individual defendants Aikens, White, and Hurst from this action pursuant to Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties’ motion is hereby granted and all claims against individual defendants Aikens, White, and Hurst are dismissed with prejudice with no finding of liability having been made against the individual defendants.

Honorable Curtis L. Collier
United States District Judge

While that might be good news for the these defendants, the news might not be so good for the city tax payers. Multiple sources have told me that the law suit has been settled and it appears that city tax payers are the ones on the hook. Again, unconfirmed sources have told me that city officials have settled the matter out of court for, currently, an undisclosed amount of money. But it's a lot.

You will recall, Ms. Johnson was dismissed back in January of 2013. City officials claimed they had all kinds of legitimate reasons to cut Ms. Johnson loose. Ms. Johnson claimed she was fired as retaliation for doing her job in requiring the city to abide by their own regulations..

Shortly after her termination, Ms. Johnson claimed she attempted to enforce building codes after the city bought the SunTrust Bank building on Highway 321, asking "that the city apply for a permit and use a licensed contractor to do the work and obtain all the required inspections of the work as it proceeded and before it was occupied. She believed the city was required to do those things just the same as anyone else doing construction within the city. The lawsuit alleged that Johnson was told by Don White, her supervisor, that the required plans, drawings, inspections and reviews would be too expensive.

City officials claimed Ms. Johnson was discharged because she engaged in insubordination, neglect of duty, and violation of city policy and abuse of city equipment.

Well, if it's true that the suit has been settled and the city has paid out big money to settle the suit, then I would hope that those city officials who were responsible will come forward and tell the citizens the truth of the settlement. If one penny of the city tax payer's money has been used to pay the settlement, somebody better tell the truth.

Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens was quoted in the News Herald last year saying, “She wanted to file a lawsuit. The truth will prevail,”

Apparently, the truth has prevailed and Ms. Johnson won.