Michael Abella Aug. 24, 2016, 1:34pm


LAFAYETTE — Five former municipal employees are suing Vidalia and its mayor, alleging wrongful termination.

Kelly Butler, Fay Garretson, Teresa Dennis, Juanita Smith and Mary Knight filed a lawsuit Aug. 9 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Lafayette Division against Vidalia Mayor Edwy Gene “Buz” Craft and the city of Vidalia alleging violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs were hired and retained as municipal employees by by former Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland during his 24-year tenure. After the March 5 election, the suit says, when Craft defeated Copeland, the plaintiffs were terminated from employment by Craft, which caused them mental anguish, lost wages and lost benefits. 

The plaintiffs allege Craft fired them because they supported the former mayor.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury, all damages, court costs, including expert witness fees, legal interest and all relief to which they are entitled. They are represented by attorney Russell A. Woodard Jr. of Breithaupt, Dunn, Dubos, Shafto & Wolleson LLC in Monroe.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Lafayette Division Case number 1:16-cv-01158

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U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Lafayette Division
800 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, LA 70501

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