Former Beaumont firefighter's suit against city transferred

David Yates Jul. 14, 2011, 5:43am

A former Beaumont firefighter, who claims he was fired for stopping an intoxicated driver, recently had his suit against the city transferred.

James Mathews Jr. filed a lawsuit April 29 in Jefferson County District Court against the city of Beaumont, Mayor Becky Ames, City Attorney Tyrone Cooper and Fire Chief Anne Huff.

Court records show Mathews was fired from his job as a city firefighter after city officials alleged he attacked an intoxicated driver with a baseball bat. However, Mathews claims he never used a

On May 27 the city successfully transferred the case to U.S. District Court, Beaumont Division, on the grounds that Mathews' seeks recovery under U.S. Constitutional violations, records show.

In his suit, Mathews says he encountered the driver, Jeremiah Freeman, as Freeman was "careening wildly" down 11th Street in Beaumont. Freeman eventually struck Mathews' vehicle as Mathews sat at a stoplight.

According to the complaint, Ames, Cooper and Huff began saying Mathews attacked Freeman with a baseball bat at the time of the incident.

"This is a malicious lie intended to foster and augment their illegal activity in violation of state law and operating under color of state law in obtaining, retaining, distributing and using Plaintiff's expunged and privileged records," the suit states.

Mathews seeks compensatory, actual and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just. He also seeks a permanent injunction, preventing the city from obtaining privileged police files, and a court order that the city of Beaumont change its policy.

Alto V. Watson III of the Law Offices of Gilbert T. Adams in Beaumont represents him.

Beaumont attorney Frank Calvert of Calvert Eaves Clarke & Stelly represents the city.

Jefferson County case No. E189-911
Federal case No. 1.11cv00268

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