Attorney for former Latta Police Chief Freddie Davis says lawsuit possible
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:25:24 GMT —
Attorney Kevin Barth with Ballenger, Barth, Hoefer and Lewis LLP said he may file a lawsuit for Breach of Contract against the Town of Latta over the firing of Freddie Davis.
Davis was hired by Latta Mayor Earl Bullard on June 17 and his contract was signed June 23, Bullard said.
Davis was scheduled to begin his duties as the town's police chief on Tuesday, July 1.
Before he started work though, on Friday, June 27, town council fired Davis and rehired Crystal Moore, who Mayor Bullard fired in April.
Barth sent town council a letter Tuesday asking for clarification on Davis' employment status.
The letter asked the council if Davis still had a job or if he had been let go, according to a council member. The letter said Davis believes there was some confusion on the matter, and he wanted it clarified.
A town official said he told Barth that council believes Davis' contract is invalid because Bullard entered into the contract without the approval of town council, which violates Latta Municipal Code.
A town official added that council sent a letter, email and left a voicemail message for Davis on Friday, June 27, saying his services were no longer needed.
Barth said he believes Davis' contract is valid, and they are looking at legal options to remedy the situation, including a lawsuit for Breach of Contract.
He added that Davis quit a job to take the position as Latta Police Chief and he is now unemployed.
"We think he's got a valid contract, and they need to pay him what he's losing by being unemployed. We've got to figure out how he can be treated fairly assuming he's not going to be the Chief of Police over there," said Barth.
The contract is a two-year contract for $40,000 a year.
Mayor Bullard announced Davis' hiring one day after town voters approved a referendum to change the town's form of government from Strong Mayor-Weak Council to Weak Mayor-Strong Council.
Council wanted a change of government after Bullard fired Moore, who was Latta's longtime police chief, in April, and the council lacked the power to reinstate her.
Bullard said last week Davis' contract addressed a change in the form of government, so that Davis will still have to be paid under a Strong Council form of government.
Bullard said last week that if council fired Davis, they would need to pay him the $80,000 left on his contract.