Judge awards promotion and over $270K in legal fees - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Judge awards promotion and over $270K in legal fees

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Darr interviewed after Nov. court hearing Darr interviewed after Nov. court hearing
Ed Buckley Ed Buckley

Judge Land has released his ruling on equitable relief in the discrimination case against Muscogee Sheriff John Darr.

The Court ordered that Lt. Donna Tompkins be promoted to captain by July 1, 2016 or within 30 days of a captain position vacancy. If she has not been promoted by July 1, 2014, she will receive the same level of compensation and benefits she would have received if promoted to captain.

Lt. Tompkins will also recover $271,974 in attorney fees. The city will pay these fees.

After 20 hours of deliberating in August, a jury found Darr and his team did discriminate against two women in 2010 when the deputies were denied promotions. However, the women were awarded no financial compensation and did not receive a promotion. The women were back in court two weeks ago asking for such things.

The plaintiffs' attorney and the city were given a little over a week to reach a settlement. Both sides went back and forth several times, but were unable to reach a deal.

Ed Buckley, the plaintiffs' attorney, told News 3 the judge's ruling is about what he expected.

"This ruling is consistent with what Judge Land was saying last week at the hearing and so we are not at all surprised," says Buckley.

The Court denied equitable relief to Lt. Wynn, finding that she would not have been promoted to captain even if Sheriff Darr had not been motivated by gender.

Sheriff Darr told News 3 he is disappointed with the ruling, but it doesn't distract him because he knows he's never discriminated against anyone. He says, for now, he's glad it's behind him, but he will sit down with city attorneys next week and discuss whether they will appeal the judge's ruling.

The judge reduced the attorney's fees the city owes the plaintiff by about $50,000. The city has already spent nearly $250,000 defending the case.

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