Jennings Loses Appeal

August 28, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Richard Jennings

Former Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings, who had sued the City of Smithville claiming he was wrongfully terminated in 2009, has lost an appeal of his case to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Jennings filed the lawsuit in DeKalb County Chancery Court in February, 2010 claiming that his termination by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen was fraudulent, arbitrary, and capricious. Jennings asked the court to have a hearing and order the city to restore him to his position with the Smithville Police Department.

Chancellor Ronald Thurman held a hearing in September, 2010 and in a final order in November affirmed the decision of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen "in all respects".

Jennings filed an appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals and in a majority opinion, handed down on August 11, 2011, the appellate court, affirmed the judgment of the Chancery Court.

The Smithville board of aldermen, with four voting in the affirmative, on December 7th, 2009 upheld the city discipline board's decision in November, 2009 to terminate Jennings for dereliction of duties/negligence.

Jennings initially filed a federal court lawsuit, which was dismissed in February, 2010.

Jennings alleged that the city never established a cause for his termination, that the city violated his constitutional due process rights, and that he was the victim of age discrimination in the dismissal.

Jennings has been represented by Murfreesboro attorney Kerry Knox. No word yet on whether Jennings will exercise his further right of appeal.

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