City issues statement on jury award in fired police officer case

By Nick Gosnell
October 20, 2014

McPherson City Attorney Jeff Houston issued a statement on Monday regarding the jury award reached last week in Federal court in a lawsuit brought by a former McPherson police officer.

Here is that statement:

"As has been reported, on October 14th, a Federal jury in Wichita returned a significant judgment against the City in the case of Michaels v. the City of McPherson. The case involved allegations that the plaintiff was wrongfully discharged due to his sleep apnea, contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act, that he was denied a sufficient

'name clearing' hearing after his termination, contrary to his civil rights, that he was interfered with when he attempted to take a day of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and that he was denied his vacation pay after the date of his termination."

"The City denied, and continues to deny, the allegations of the plaintiff. The total jury award equaled $921,657.64. We anticipate post-trial motions from the plaintiff seeking his attorney's fees and costs. The amount of fees claimed is currently unknown. The City was disappointed by the jury award, and firmly believes that it was contrary to established law and the full weight of the evidence introduced at trial. The City will be filing post-trial motions to get the verdict set aside. If these post-trial motions are not successful, we intend to pursue an appeal to the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on multiple grounds. If the appeal is required, we do not anticipate a resolution of the case until mid to late 2016."

Houston added that other than the statement read Monday, the City does not intend to comment further on this case, and will instead direct its efforts within the judicial system.