Current and former Prestonsburg City Council members were recently dismissed from the lawsuit filed by a former police officer who claims he was unjustly fired after being shot in a line of duty.
An agreed order of partial dismissal was signed by Floyd County Circuit Judge Tom Smith recently in the lawsuit filed by former Prestonsburg Police Officer Adam Dixon.
Smith reported in the order that Dixon informed the court he has resolved his claims against Prestonsburg City Council members Harry Adams, Don Willis, B.D. Nunnery, Charles E. “Shag” Branham, David A. Gearheart, Brittainy Branham and former council members Mike Lafferty and Roy Roberts.
Smith dismissed the claims against them without prejudice, meaning Dixon is not barred from filing lawsuits against them in the future. The claims are still pending against other parties in this case.
Dixon had been employed as an officer for nearly 10 years when he was shot in the line of duty on Oct. 20, 2015, by Robert Powers of Auxier, who was sentenced to 20 years for that shooting in December 2018.
Per department protocol, Dixon was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, the lawsuit said, and he was on leave for about three months. After he returned to work, his attorney claims the Prestonsburg officials failed to adhere to policies that would have helped Dixon with his post-traumatic stress disorder, and, after time passed, they “demanded” his resignation.
Dixon sued current and former members of the city council, the Prestonsburg Police Department, Police Chief Larry Woods and Mayor Les Stapleton, alleging that they failed to follow policies for the “handling and treatment of employees injured in the line of duty.” The lawsuit claims that the alleged failure to follow those policies made Dixon’s injuries worse, leading to his alleged “wrongful termination.”
The city has denied the allegations sought the partial dismissal last August.
Attorney Melissa Thompson Richardson, representing the city and its officials, claims in the motion for partial dismissal that Dixon’s claims against city council members are too vague. She argues that the only mention of the city council’s conduct in the lawsuit is a paragraph in which it claims the council “failed to abide by” policies for the handling and treatment of injured employees. It also alleges among other things, that as a legislative body, the city council “could not have had any hand” in the alleged wrongful termination.
Richard A. Getty, Dixon’s attorney, argued otherwise, however, in court documents, stating that the complaint contains sufficient factual allegations against the city council members and that the city council members have “absolutely no basis for claiming they cannot identify the ‘essential nature’ of Dixon’s complaint against them.