MOUNT VERNON — The city of Mount Vernon, and the four defendants named in a lawsuit filed by former Sgt. Mark Perkins, have formally denied the allegations in the suit filed in April.
Perkins is suing the city, police Chief Mike Merrilees, Mayor Richard Mavis, Safety- Service Director Dave Glass and police Capt. George Hartz. Perkins claims he was discriminated against for his service to the military, was harassed and retaliated against, and was not paid for military days or compensated for differential pay for long-term deployments. The lawsuit also alleges Merrilees illegally destroyed public records.
As far as Perkins’ claim of “serious emotional stress” as a result of “psychological injury,” the defense claims Perkins brought it upon himself.
“To the extent that the Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges negligent conduct on the part of Mt. Vernon Defendants, then Plaintiff was negligent in his own conduct in a manner and extent proximately causing his own injuries, and thereby mitigating or obviating any liability or responsibly on the part of the Mt. Vernon Defendants,” the answer states.
City’s answer to Perkins Adobe PDF
Complaint Adobe PDF
The suit also states Perkins was not permitted to return to work because he failed to have a physical following a work-related injury. The city argues that it had “legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reasons for all actions taken with respect to the Plaintiff’s employment.”
The city’s answer, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, confirms minimal information cited in the lawsuit including names and dates of employment. In areas other than where the city denies any liability, specifically the areas of discrimination, the answer states there is not enough information to form an opinion as to whether or not the actions can be confirmed or denied.
The lawsuit asks for damages twice the amount of lost wages, $1,000 for each document that was destroyed, attorney fees, compensatory damages in excess of $500,000, cost of action, return to the position of sergeant and punitive and /or exemplary damages.
The defendants ask they be dismissed from the lawsuit and request costs.
The city, and defendants, are being represented by Jennifer Wilson of Freund, Freeze & Arnold, in Columbus.
Perkins was fired by the city for insubordination and gross misconduct on April 19. He is appealing his termination.
According to court documents filed on Thursday, he is scheduled for deposition on Aug. 14. The city has requested all documents supporting the claims in the lawsuit be made available at that time.
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