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Jennings loses appeal
Denied compensation for wrongful termination
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Richard Jennings, Former Smithville Police Chief and long-time employee of the department who filed suit against the City of Smithville for wrongful termination in 2009, has placed his case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and lost.The lawsuit, filed in DeKalb County Chancery Court in February, 2010 alleged that his termination from the position of police chief was fraudulent, arbitrary and capricious. Represented in the suit by Murfreesboro attorney Kerry Knox, Jennings had also asked the court to order the city to restore him to his position with the Smithville Police Department.On December 7, 2009, the board of aldermen upheld the city discipline board's November, 2009 decision to terminate Jennings for dereliction of duties/negligence with four votes in favor of dismissal.Jennings initially filed suit in federal court, which was dismissed in February, 2010.Chancellor Ronald Thurman presided over a hearing in September, 2010, and issued a final order in November, affirming the decision of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen “in all respects.”An appeal was then filed on Jennings behalf with the Tennessee Court of Appeals, who handed down a ruling on August 11, 2011, again affirming the Chancery Court’s ruling in a majority opinion.Jennings’ suit claimed that the city never established any cause for his termination, that the city violated his constitutional due process rights, and that he was the victim of age discrimination.Jennings still has the right to appeal the case further.