Tentative trial date set for lawsuit against Pelham

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A lawsuit brought against Pelham by the city’s former marketing director will not go to trial before September 2014, but could be referred to mediation before then, according to court documents.

Shepherd

Shepherd

The scheduling order was filed in U.S. District Court on June 17, the same day attorneys from both sides held a conference to lay out the future of the case.

According to the scheduling order, the case “will be trial ready in September 2014” and is estimated to last about three or four days.

However, the case will be referred to mediation in April 2014 “unless a party objects,” according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed against the city in February by former Pelham marketing director Eva Shepherd, who worked with the city from 2008 until she was fired November 2012.

In the lawsuit, Shepherd claimed she served three positions with the city after the City Council voted to eliminate the Pelham Civic Complex’s general manager, marketing and sales manager and maintenance manager positions shortly after she was hired.

Shepherd claimed she was not justly compensated by the city for her work, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in October 2011. Shepherd was terminated from her position while waiting for her right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, according to her lawsuit.

After receiving her right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, Shepherd filed a second EEOC complaint claiming the city retaliated against her for filing the first EEOC complaint.

In a response filed in March, the city denied all allegations brought by Shepherd in the lawsuit, and claimed Shepherd’s termination was “consistent with legitimate business reasons, the laws and ordinances of the city of Pelham and/or the laws of the state of Alabama.”

Pelham is being represented by attorneys Meghan Cox, Thomas Oliver and Richard Trewhella Jr. of the Carr, Allison, Hugh, Howard, Oliver and Sisson law firm.

Shepherd is being represented by Birmingham attorneys Sandra Reiss and John Saxon.