Federal Jury Awards City Officer Who Was Fired For PTSD $680,000

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Federal Court jury on Thursday awarded $680,000 in damages to a former Chattanooga Police Officer who was terminated related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service in Iraq.

The award against the city of Chattanooga was for Mickel Hoback.

Attorneys Phil Lawrence and Michael Richardson said he served well as a police officer from 2000 to his time in the service from June 2004 to December 2005. He then returned to the police force.

Then-Police Chief Freeman Cooper terminated him when he learned that he had been involuntarily committed to a Veterans Administration facility.

Defense attorneys said that was only for one day and was the result of a treating physician mistakenly believing he was suicidal.

Attorney Lawrence said Mr. Hoback wants to return to his duties with the police department and the matter is on appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. A City Council panel had upheld his firing 2-1, with Pam Ladd and Sally Robinson voting to affirm and Andrae McGary opposed.

That was appealed to Chancery Court and Chancellor Jeff Atherton ruled in favor of the officer. The city then appealed that ruling.

Attorney Lawrence noted that Mr. Hoback was Officer of the Year in 2007 and said he "was a very high-performing" officer.

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