Federal Jury Rejects Claims Against Ex-Louisiana Official
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal jury has rebuffed claims that Louisiana's former alcohol and tobacco control commissioner unfairly fired one of his workers when he led the state agency.
The jury unanimously decided Monday that ex-ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert did not defame or retaliate against former agent Brette Tingle when he fired him in August 2015.
Hebert's attorney, Edward Kohnke, told The Advocate it "was a complete victory."
A disciplinary letter says Tingle was fired after work cellphone records revealed the veteran agent made racial and sexual comments in text messages to co-workers and threatened violence against superiors.
Tingle claimed his public firing amounted to defamation, and alleged his termination was retaliation for participating as a witness in a discrimination case against Hebert.
Tingle's lawyer, J. Arthur Smith, says he'll seek a retrial.