Thursday, July 21, 2005

Deposition set for former Southwest City chief

The lawyer for Southwest City officials named in a lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Ron Beaudry will get a crack at Beaudry on Aug. 1.
The notice to take Beaudry's deposition was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The questioning will take place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Lathrop & Gage law firm in Springfield. If the deposition has not been concluded at that point it will continue the next day during the same hours, the document indicated.
A March 2006 jury trial is expected in the lawsuit which was filed by Beaudry against Southwest City's mayor and city council. According to the schedule filed earlier this year, all discovery must be completed by Aug. 26 with the deadline for filing of discovery motions set for Aug. 12.
A three-day trial is expected, according to the court documents.
Beaudry claims that his successor, Toi Cannada, who has since resigned from that post, was convicted of a "driving-related alcohol offense" on July 21, 1994, in Webb City, and on July 13, 2001, in Callaway County.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the city of Southwest City, Mayor Al Dixon, and council members Farley Martin and Mildred Weaver. Beaudry noted in his petition that Ms. Cannada is Martin's stepdaughter. Beaudry was hired as police chief in June 2003, according to the petition.
Ms. Cannada was hired on a part-time basis last November.She was promoted to full-time status after a closed council meeting in March 2004, the petition says. At that point, Beaudry conducted a background check and uncovered the alcohol-related offenses, he said.
"On March 12, 2004," the petition says, "(Beaudry) received a fax from Angela Heckart, a representative with Beimdiek Insurance Agency, regarding the insurability of Ms. Canada." Ms. Heckart said Ms. Cannada could not be insured because she had an alcohol-related driving offense in the three years before she was hired.
On March 30, the city received a fax saying that Ms. Cannada was prohibited from using any city vehicle. At that point, Beaudry fired her. "On or about April 13, 2004," the petition said, "the city council refused to fire Cannada, rehired her, and allowed her to operate her own vehicle to conduct police business."
On May 14, the council suspended Beaudry after he went public about his concerns about Ms. Cannada, the petition said. On June 2, he was fired. In the petition, Beaudry claims his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the city officials. He is asking to be reinstated as police chief, to have all references to his suspension and firing removed from city files, and for damages and punitive damages.
The trial is scheduled for March 2006, according to court records.

No comments: