Judge throws out jury verdict in Ellerbrook Vs Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Judge throws out jury verdict in Ellerbrook Vs Lubbock

Judge Sam Cummings Judge Sam Cummings
Martha Ellerbrook and her attorneys inside the Mahon Federal Building in mid-October Martha Ellerbrook and her attorneys inside the Mahon Federal Building in mid-October

By James Clark - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A federal judge over-rules the jury's verdict and orders that City of Lubbock employee Martha Ellerbrook gets nothing from the city.  The order on Friday afternoon contradicts a mid-October jury verdict which awarded Ellerbrook $243,000. 

Ellerbrook claims that then-Deputy City Manager Tom Adams retaliated against her when he passed her over for a 2007 job opening because she helped her husband Terry Ellerbrook sue the city.  Mr. Ellerbrook and the city settled out of court.  Adams steadfastly denies the charge and has left City Hall.

Despite the pending lawsuit, Martha Ellerbrook was hired as the city's Director Of Animal Control Services in March of 2010. 

In Friday's ruling Judge Sam Cummings wrote, "... the ultimate question remains
whether the evidence, taken as a whole, would allow a jury to infer that the City's actual reason for not hiring Ellerbrook was out of retaliation for her assistance with Terry's litigation."

Cummings continues, "Based on the foregoing, the Court is of the opinion that Ellerbrook failed to present sufficient evidence to raise a genuine fact dispute as to whether Adams had any knowledge of her assistance with Terry's litigation."

The judge concludes, "The City did not hire Ellerbrook because she was not the clearly most qualified applicant."

Bob Craig, Attorney for the City, said late Friday, "On behalf of the city we are pleased with the  judge's ruling.  We have felt that we had a good legal position in regard to our motions that we have filed."

KCBD NewsChannel 11 is attempting to get reaction from Ellerbrook or her attorneys.

Copyright 2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11.  All rights reserved.

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