Ellerbrook again wins $243,000 judgment against City of Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Ellerbrook again wins $243,000 judgment against City of Lubbock

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Ellerbrook sued the city and in October of 2010 won a $243,000 jury verdict. (KCBD file photo) Ellerbrook sued the city and in October of 2010 won a $243,000 jury verdict. (KCBD file photo)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

A federal appeals court sides in favor of Martha Ellerbrook in her legal battle against the City of Lubbock. Ellerbrook sued the city and in October of 2010 won a $243,000 jury verdict on claims that was she was passed over for a job as retaliation for her husband's previous lawsuit against the city. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings struck down the jury verdict and Ellerbrook appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. 

The Fifth Circuit found error after error in Cummings' decision saying in part, "The district court abused its discretion in determining that the jury's verdict was against the great weight of the evidence." 

The Fifth Circuit also said in a ruling released Wednesday that "Martha [Ellerbrook] presented substantial circumstantial evidence from which a reasonable jury could have concluded that the City unlawfully retaliated against Martha."

In a one-sided ruling, Ellerbrook won on all counts of the appeal and the city lost on all counts.  The appeals court ordered Judge Cummings to "enter judgment for Martha [Ellerbrook]." It also ordered that City pay for Ellberook's attorney fees and the cost of the appeal.

Ellerbrook worked for the city from 1989 until 2003 when she was let go amid budget cuts. She was passed over for a job 2007, which is the basis for the lawsuit. She was hired as the Director of Animal Services in March 2010. In August 2011 she retired from full-time status as Director of Animals Services and now works that same job under-part time status.

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