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Lee County Waits for Possible Appeal


Lee County is now in a “wait-and-see” mode following a court ruling late last week.

District Court Judge Mary Ann Brown set aside a roughly $186,000 verdict against the county in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Maintenance Director Rick Carter.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Larkin says while he was a little surprised the judge would overrule a jury, he is glad she did.

"It really frees us up to go on living and do the things that we really need to do to make county government effective," says Larkin, "instead of having to worry about a lawsuit last night."

The judge’s ruling does not mean the case is closed.

New London-based Attorney Steven Ort, who represented the county, says Carter can appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Ort says if the justices accept the case, they can either sustain Judge Brown’s ruling, reinstate the jury’s verdict or order a new trial.

Carter has about three weeks to decide whether to appeal.  He has indicated in published reports that he plans to appeal, but nothing has been filed.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.