Dollar amount proposed for settlement in suit against Hill

By Justin Boron

Participants in mediation talks for the discrimination suit against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill are mulling over a dollar amount that could settle the case, an attorney in the mediation said in court Friday.

The amount, which could not be disclosed because of a confidentiality agreement in the talks, would be a big step toward ending the dispute that resulted from Hill's 27 firing s on his first day in office. Attorneys, Clayton County officials, and a judge have all said the suit should be settled amicably instead of through a costly jury trial in federal court.

Jack Hancock, an attorney representing the Board of Commissioners, told U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash that the case could be settled.

Atlanta attorney Hunter Hughes, who is overseeing the mediation talks, provided the parties in the almost seven-month long case with a number and asked for a "Yes" or "No" answer, Hancock said.

Hancock added that there may have been some positive response.

Thrash also ordered a stay on all discovery and extended a consent order, which requires Hill to ask a judge's permission to make certain personnel moves.

Essentially, the order puts off attorney fees that could eat away at insurance money for a settlement or award in the case.