Gary suit settled; results sealed

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 15, 2003

A legal battle between the city of Demopolis and a former employee has been settled. However, the results of that settlement may never be released.

Tony Gary, a former member of the Demopolis Police Department, sued the city after he was terminated in May. Charles Avery, then police chief, recommended to the City Council that Gary be terminated, and the council concurred.

Gary hired Keith Andress and sued the city for his job. Though a trial date of Aug. 11 was set, both city and Gary attorneys avoided the trial and took the case to mediation in Mobile last week.

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During an executive session at last week’s City Council meeting, Mayor Austin Caldwell told Council members about the outcome of the mediation. However, no word of the outcome has been spoken since.

Both Andress and Demopolis city attorney Rick Manley said they could not comment on the mediation results. However, both confirmed that a resolution has been reached.

Manley said the same thing, except to mention that a few items of paperwork still must be signed.

Caldwell said Federal Magistrate Christy Lee &045;&045; who presided over the mediation &045;&045; told both parties involved that there would be punishment if the virtual gag-order was broken.

According to Manley, judges and magistrates have numerous reasons for sealing the results of a settlement. In this case, both Manley and Andress said their clients wanted to keep the terms of the apparent settlement confidential.

Obviously this case is much different than a child-custody case.

On April 12, 2001, Gary was accused of assaulting a suspect with a flashlight. Gary was tried and convicted of the assault, which led to his termination from the Demopolis Police Department.

Andress and Steven Henry, another attorney who helped represent Gary, both believed their client was punished based on information that was incoherent and contradictory.

And obviously, Gary’s attorneys didn’t agree with the city’s decision to terminate his employment.

The suspect Gary was convicted of assaulting, Derrick Luther Cox, also has sued the city of Demopolis. His suit seeks compensation for the injuries he sustained during Gary’s assault of him.

Montgomery attorney Scott McArdle took Cox’s case earlier this year.

Based on the actions McArdle feels were inappropriate, he said the city of Demopolis needs to learn a lesson from this case.

Though it could not be confirmed, Cox’s pending lawsuit against the city may be part of the reason for the sealing of the city’s apparent settlement with Gary.