A former city prosecutor has filed suit against Lafayette Consolidated Government alleging wrongful termination and breach of contract.
In a suit filed Monday, Marcus A. Allen alleges he was fired on the basis of allegations of a criminal act without allowing for due process.
The suit says Allen was contacted in August 2010 by then City-Parish Attorney Pat Ottinger, who allegedly presented Allen with two choices: resign or be terminated.
When Allen inquired about his opportunity for a due process hearing, Ottinger allegedly told Allen that he “did not care about his due process, that either he resign now or be terminated,” the suit says.
When Allen refused to resign, Ottinger fired him, the suit says.
Allen was charged July 19, 2010, in district court on a bill of information alleging he committed simple battery on Vaughn M. Swilley, a bondsman at A Able Bonding, on Oct. 14, 2009.
District Attorney Mike Harson has said Swilley accused Allen of pushing him outside of the Lafayette Parish Courthouse during a dispute the two men were having about a client Allen represented in his private law practice.
In the suit, Allen said he was “surprised and confused as to how formal charges were filed and accepted against him, when he had never been informed of any charges lodged against him for simple battery, he had never been questioned or arrested in the last 10 months regarding a simple battery against anyone, and ultimately, he did not commit a simple battery against anyone.”
Allen said shortly after he was fired, news of his firing was disseminated throughout all of the local news outlets causing him “great embarrassment and humiliation.”
The case against Allen was dismissed in March, according to the suit.
Assistant District Attorney Donald D. Landry said Tuesday the case was dismissed at the request of the victim.
“I think they worked things out and the victim had no interest in going forward,” Landry said Tuesday.
Allen said no one from Lafayette Consolidated Government ever contacted him to offer an apology or to offer reinstatement of his position after he was cleared of the charges, the suit says.
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said in an email Tuesday that the city cannot comment on lawsuits.
“Comments will come at a later date,” Durel wrote.
The suit seeks damages that include loss of earnings, both past and present; mental anguish and embarrassment and humiliation.
Allen served in the position from 2004 until Aug. 20, 2010. He was replaced by Thomas Michael Dupont, who was offered the job in December.