Whistleblower Act lawsuit filed against The Colony

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 1, 2010, 5:36am

SHERMAN-The Colony's former Public Works Director has filed a lawsuit against the city that alleges violations of the Texas Whistleblower Act.

Alleging he was terminated from his position for refusing to violate Texas law, Stephen D. Eubanks filed suit against City of The Colony, Texas on Oct. 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Eubanks states he was hired by City Manager Dale Cheatham in Oct. 2004 to clean up the organization and to depart from the previous corruption. As the Public Works director, Eubanks states he followed Texas law governing the installation of traffic signals. According to the allegations, the Assistant City Manager Antonio Johnson instructed Eubanks to authorize the installation of a traffic signal at a new commercial industrial development without conducting the legally required study.

Eubanks states he refused to do so as this would violate the Texas law that requires an engineering study of traffic conditions to determine whether installation of a traffic signal is justified.

With the municipal election in May 2009, the former city manager left, placing the Assistant City Manager in the interim position.

Eubanks was fired from his position in February. Eubanks states one of the reasons The Colony gave for its decision to fire Eubanks was regarding the insistence on installing a traffic light.

The city is accused of violating the Texas Government Code by discharging Eubanks because he in good faith reported a violation of law by the city to appropriate law enforcement authorities.

The plaintiff is seeking a reinstatement to his former position, compensation for wages lost during the period of termination, reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights and an award of $250,000 for future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, other nonpecuniary losses, interest and court costs.

Eubanks is represented by Sulphur Springs attorney Wade A. Forsman.

Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10-cv-00561

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