Sheriff Darr "I feel fine with myself;" back in court in connec - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Sheriff Darr: "I feel fine with myself;" back in court in connection to gender discrimination trial

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The Sheriff of Muscogee County defends his reputation and the city's money.

Sheriff John Darr spent Monday morning in court for a hearing stemming from a gender discrimination lawsuit filed against him by two female jail employees.

Lieutenants Joan Wynn and Donna Tompkins were fighting for a promotion they said was snatched from them because they're women.

Sheriff Darr was found guilty of gender discrimination in September but was not ordered to pay the victims any damages.

Shortly after the trial, Wynn and Tompkins' attorney Edward Buckley said he wasn't through with the sheriff yet.

On Monday, the plaintiff's asked for $271,000 in attorney's fees. They also asked for back pay and promotions.

With a smile on his face, Buckley emerged from the federal courthouse where he argued Wynn and Tompkins should be awarded in some way after a jury found they were discriminated against because they're women.

"I feel pretty good so far," said Plaintiff's Attorney Edward Buckley. "The judge sent us a signal, I think that he wants to make some equitable findings in favor of our clients so I think that's a good sign."

Buckley's request for back pay was denied by Judge Clay Land as soon as court began.

Land said the jury decided the women should not be awarded financial damages and he was not going to entertain the motion.

Judge Land also asked why both women should be promoted if originally there was only one position.

He said would that not be placing one of the women in a higher rank she probably wouldn't have been promoted to.

Land then asked who should get the promotion; Buckley said there's no way to choose one over the other.

"At the trial of the case there were two people that said that Ms. Tompkins was their favorite after Shaffer and there was also testimony, undisputed that, Sheriff Darr had told Joan Wynn that she'd get the promotion," Buckley claimed.

Darr's attorney Kirsten Stevenson says if the women are promoted it would, ‘wreck havoc' on the Sheriff's Office. She also said she believes Darr would face challenges disciplining the women if they're promoted.

Stevenson said the women should not be awarded anything because it would go against the jury's verdict.

During the hearing, Stevenson claimed Sheriff Darr was paying dearly due to the outcome of this case.

They say he now has to walk around with the stigma that he discriminates against women.  News Leader 9 asked Sheriff Darr if he feels his reputation is ruined.

"That doesn't bother me at all. I've told people and I know, that I've never discriminated against anybody," Sheriff Darr proclaimed. "People that know me, know that I've never discriminated against anybody regardless of sex or race and God knows I never did that. So, I feel fine with myself."

The motion for attorney's fee's included trial preparation, photocopies worth over $900, and travel expenses.

The defense questioned the plaintiff's attorneys to make sure they weren't charging the city for work they did with a third co-defendant that dropped out of the case before the trail.

Judge Land also seemed to encourage both sides to try to agree on a settlement before he made a decision on the case.

If they are unable to agree on a settlement, Judge land has set a new court date for Wednesday November 27 at 10 a.m. where he will rule on the case.

Continue to check back here for more details on this is a developing story.

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