Suspended Sheriff Lyde achieves victory in federal lawsuit

About to be arraigned on felony prices Monday, suspended Clay County Sheriff Jeffrey Lyde scored a victory in one other courthouse.

Jury choice begins Monday in Montagu District Court docket over allegations that Lyde illegally held a pair in jail and tampered with courtroom paperwork within the course of in July 2021. He faces 4 misdemeanor prices in reference to these allegations.

This is among the many authorized battlegrounds that Lyde and his group of legal professionals are combating.

They embody a petition to completely take away him from elected workplace within the 97th District Court docket, different legal prices tied to the sexual harassment allegations and federal lawsuits. Provided by the couple And by former county workers.

Lyde’s suspension will stay in impact till the lawsuit in search of to take away him from workplace concludes. A jury trial is anticipated to find out his destiny concerning the petition.

Of all these struggle fronts, Lyde can depend at the least one decisive victory, due to the Fifth Circuit Court docket of Appeals in New Orleans.

This growth is probably not broadly recognized outdoors of Clay County, however the suspended sheriff not too long ago introduced it to the eye of the Instances Report Information.

Earlier this yr, the New Orleans Court docket of Appeals sided with Lyde and in opposition to a former Sheriff’s Workplace worker he fired, upholding a ruling in Wichita Falls federal district courtroom.

A federal lawsuit was filed in April 2021 by Linda Byrd, a former dispatcher and supervisor, and two others, Gary Tatum, the county jailer, and Tyler Aylor, a detention officer. They have been sacked after Lyde’s election in 2020.

The three filed a lawsuit in opposition to Clay County, alleging that Lyde wrongly fired them from the Sheriff’s Workplace in violation of the Household and Medical Go away Act.

Frank Douthit, Clay County attorney and former district judge, walks out of the 97th District Courtroom in the Montagu County Courthouse on February 23, 2023, for a quick chat.  Douthitt is one of the petitioners seeking to remove Sheriff Jeffrey Lyde from elected office.

Frank Douthit, Clay County lawyer and former district decide, walks out of the 97th District Courtroom within the Montagu County Courthouse on February 23, 2023, for a fast chat. Douthitt is among the petitioners in search of to take away Sheriff Jeffrey Lyde from elected workplace.

It’s price noting that Tatum and Aylor later settled with the county and dropped out of the lawsuit. That left Byrd nonetheless in search of a jury trial and the award of advantages, misplaced wages, different monetary losses, attorneys’ charges and extra.

After his election on Nov. 3, 2020, Lyde reviewed the Sheriff’s Workplace workers and determined to switch Might from his supervisors, together with Byrd, based on the Fifth Circuit opinion issued earlier this yr.

Byrd and Tatum have been terminated from employment with the county in particular person emails Lyde despatched on Nov. 16, 2020, informing them of their departures efficient Nov. 30, 2020, when he took workplace, based on the Fifth Circuit’s April 27 opinion.

Clay County Sheriff Jeffrey Laid provides a weekly update to residents on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, after a judge voided a temporary restraining order against him.

Clay County Sheriff Jeffrey Laid supplies a weekly replace to residents on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, after a decide voided a short lived restraining order in opposition to him.

Tatum and Byrd claimed they have been fired in November 2020 whereas on FMLA depart, based on the lawsuit. Aylor utilized for FMLA depart on January 4, 2021, and was fired an hour after submitting his software.

extra: It was agreed to change the venue for hearing two criminal cases against the suspended Sheriff Lyde

Byrd obtained a dismissal e mail at 10:57 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2020, however maintained she by no means noticed him, based on the Fifth Circuit opinion. Nonetheless, on the identical day she obtained the e-mail, she requested the district about making use of for FMLA depart.

A county worker not with the Sheriff’s Workplace granted her a proper request for depart on Nov. 25, 2020. Her depart expired in January 2021, and she or he was not reinstated.

Byrd sued in federal district courtroom, arguing that the FMLA required the county to reinstate her and provide her work after her depart expired.

However the New Orleans Court docket of Appeals discovered that as a result of Byrd wouldn’t have continued to work for the county absent FMLA depart, she couldn’t deliver any claims centered round not being reinstated to the county.

The appeals courtroom’s opinion is in line with a July 12, 2022 order from U.S. District Decide Reed O’Connor granting Clay County’s movement for abstract judgment.

extra: Couple files federal lawsuit against suspended Sheriff Lyde, Clay County

O’Connor discovered that Byrd’s claims didn’t maintain authorized water.

The decide wrote in his order that she was denied reinstatement not due to any connection to the FMLA — however solely due to her “administration fashion inconsistent by Sheriff Lyde’s requirements.”

O’Connor’s order successfully disposed of the lawsuit on the federal district courtroom stage. Chicken then went on to enchantment Conor’s resolution in New Orleans to no avail.

Trish Choate is a watchdog reporter for Instances Report Information, masking training, courts, breaking information and extra. Contact Trish for information ideas at Learn her latest work right here. Her X deal with is @Tri Shapedia.

This text initially appeared on the Wichita Falls Instances-Report Information web site: Suspended Sheriff Lyde wins lawsuit

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