Appeals Court Upholds $680,000 Verdict For Former City Police Officer, Plus $100,000 In Legal Bills Against City

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A federal appeals court has upheld a $680,000 verdict for former Chattanooga Police Officer Mikel Hoback.

The appeals court said, "The jury had a chance to hear Hoback's explanations for his disability requests and weigh his credibility accordingly, and the City has offered no reason to overturn the jury's decision. Because a panel opinion of this court would serve no jurisprudential purpose, we adopt the reasoning of the district court and affirm on the basis of its opinion in all other respects." 

The city has also been ordered to pay almost $100,000 to his attorneys, Phil and David Lawrence and Mike Richardson. David Lawrence filed for $2,065, Phil Lawrence for $70,938 and Mike Richardson for $26,964. The total attorney fee award was $99,967.

The suit was filed in  2010 and tried in 2011.

It says Mr. Hoback returned to the city police department after combat service in Iraq from 2004-2005. It says he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but had no limitations on his police service.

However, after then-Chief Freeman Cooper would no longer allow him to serve after learning that he had a "mental disorder," the suit said.

The complaint said a VA physician had ordered him involuntarily committed, saying he had suicidal tendencies. It was claimed that the physician misunderstood his condition and that he had only gone in concerning an issue about his medication for PTSS.   


DPD Seeks ID Of Pair Involved In Theft

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying two women who worked together to steal an undetermined amount of merchandise from Walmart. The pair were recorded on store surveillance. Investigators believe the suspects live in the Chattanooga area and that they have been involved in numerous thefts from stores across northwest Georgia. ... (click for more)

Ralph Lee Nelms Arrested For Theft At Bradley County Construction Site

Ralph Lee Nelms was arrested for theft at a construction site on Tuesday in Bradley County. Deputies responded to the 100 block of Keystone Drive regarding a theft in progress. Upon arrival, a man was observed getting into a silver Ford Ranger that was in the driveway of a house under construction. Contact was made with the man, later identified as Ralph Lee Nelms, who stated ... (click for more)

Calling Out Bad Behavior In St. Elmo - And Response

I have lived in the St. Elmo community of Chattanooga for practicially all 52 years of my life. My grandmother moved to St. Elmo in 1919. My Dad was literally born in a home in St. Elmo and lived his entire 72 years in this community and my Mom has lived here 60 years of her life. I am very disappointed in what my neighborhood has become. I like people. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Amputee Team Wins Relay

As a news junkie there isn’t a lot that gets past me in my morning reading, yet I had no idea there was a relay race in Chattanooga two weekends ago. Maybe that’s why 1,500 people ran away and never came back – the finish line was in Nashville. How the Ragnar Relays work is pretty simple. The organizers pick two cities that are about 200 miles apart and then 12-to-14 runners ... (click for more)

Seth Ruhling Wins Chattanooga Chase 8K And One Mile

It has been six years since Seth Ruhling ran the Chattanooga Chase and maybe he had forgotten just how tough that 8K course really is, but that’s didn’t seem to matter Monday morning as he celebrated Memorial Day with victory in the Chattanooga Track Club’s oldest race. Ruhling graduated from Collegedale Academy in 2013 and is now a 21-year-old student at Southern Adventist ... (click for more)

Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic Set For Saturday at CCS

The 13th Annual Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic, presented by Great Clips, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday June 4 at Chattanooga Christian School in Chattanooga. Tennessee defeated Georgia 38-14 last June at McCallie School in Chattanooga. It was Tennessee's fourth consecutive victory in the series that dates back to the first game held at Ridgeland High in ... (click for more)