A former Nelson County sheriff’s deputy is suing the county and Sheriff David Brooks for what he claims is more than $6,000 owed in back pay.
Joshua C. Coffey was employed as a deputy for about five years and resigned in July 2014. The total compensation owed to Coffey in “comp time, holiday repay and vacation” hours was $9,407, according to a civil claim for money recently filed in Nelson County General District Court.
Coffey, who now works for a law enforcement agency in another jurisdiction, received a paycheck of nearly $3,000 on July 31, six days after his resignation was effective, which represented his last regular payment as a deputy, the complaint states.
After the payment was remitted on Aug. 29, the county refused to continue paying Coffey the rest of the amount owed, it states.
Coffey says in the complaint he is owed $6,414. The suit argues the Nelson County Sheriff’s Department and county “willfully and maliciously” refused to honor the contract with Coffey and violated federal law in withholding the wages.
The plaintiff seeks the money owed plus interest. A phone call to Brooks seeking comment was not returned and County Administrator Steve Carter, also listed as a defendant in the suit, could not be reached for comment on this issue.
County Attorney Phil Payne IV said he had seen the complaint but did not have a comment.
Andrew D. Meyer, Coffey’s attorney, said his client is simply trying to get his money the county owes.
“I take no comfort in having to file this suit,” Meyer said. “We’re just saddened this can’t get resolved. It’s unfortunate it has to come to this.”
In July 2009, six former Nelson County deputies sued Brooks for claims of being owed more than $65,000 in back pay. The suit was filed on behalf of former deputies Scott Folsom, Gregory Sherwood, Michael McCarthy, Larry Cindrick, Joseph Flamini and Mac Bridgwater.
In the previous two election years for the position of Nelson County sheriff, Brooks defeated Bridgwater in 2007 and again 2011, this time by just 14 votes. Following his 2007 election the suit claimed Brooks, “let it be known that certain deputies, including the plaintiffs, should begin looking for other positions.”
Those deputies later left the sheriff’s office but the suit claimed they were not paid for accumulated vacation time, sick leave, compensatory time and holiday hours. Brooks responded in a legal filing in 2009 his office was not responsible for the payments and it fell on the county.
In November 2014, the case was dismissed because it sat on the docket for so long without activity, according to the clerk’s office in Nelson County Circuit Court.
Brooks, a Shipman native in his second term as sheriff, has announced he will retire at the end of this year. He has worked with the sheriff’s office for the last 25 years.
Coffey’s suit was filed in General District Court rather than Circuit Court because the amount sought is less than $25,000. The matter is set for a docket call March 18 in General District Court, online court records show, and a bench trial could be set at that time.
Nelson County Times reporter Rachael Smith contributed to this report.