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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Trial date set in OT lawsuit

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A trial date in a lawsuit against the sheriff and county over unpaid overtime has been set for November.

On Tuesday, members of the Bedford County Commission revised the minutes of their January meeting to reflect that a suit filed by four detectives against Sheriff Randall Boyce and the county had not been settled.

A check of the federal court records website PACER shows that a jury trial in the case has been set for Nov. 12 in federal court in Winchester.

Detectives sue

Boyce and the county were sued last August by David Sakich, Kevin Holton, Scott Jones, Todd Hammond "and others similarly situated" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), claiming they were denied overtime and straight time compensation and were worked "off the clock," also alleging they were retaliated against for exposing the issue.

Sakich and Holton also claim they were demoted from positions as detectives to patrol duty for "whistleblowing activity" and later requested the injunction to prevent retaliation against others who may want to participate in the suit. A federal judge denied a request for the injunction on Jan. 8.

Corrected minutes

Two days later, the county commission held a closed attorney-client session, without County Clerk Kathy Prater, the press or the public attending, during its regular meeting.

Following that session, a motion was made that both Prater and a Times-Gazette reporter heard as being to settle the lawsuit. Prater included that in her minutes and the T-G reported that same.

However, commissioners now say they only made a motion to authorize settling the lawsuit if it could be settled for no more than a particular dollar figure mentioned during the closed attorney-client session, which wasn't stated publicly Tuesday night.

Commissioner J.D. "Bo" Wilson also stated Tuesday that "the lawsuit is not settled."

Judge's view

But on the same day that the commission held their attorney-client session, U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Mitchell Carter wrote in a scheduling order that the possibility of settlement in the case was "poor."

Both parties in the suit have until Aug. 13 to tell Carter whether they think the Federal Court Mediation Program can aid in resolving this case. The final witness list is due by July 30 and all discovery in the case must be completed by Aug. 13. A final pretrial conference is set for Oct. 29 in Chattanooga.

City editor John Carney contributed to this report.