Talks in Hill case still open after meetings end

By Justin Boron

Even after the three days of scheduled meetings that brought together attorneys, insurance companies, and Clayton County officials, discussions are ongoing in the mediation talks for the federal discrimination lawsuit surrounding Sheriff Victor Hill, two attorneys said.

The parties in the lawsuit, which stems from Hill's firing of 27 sheriff employees his first day in office, head into a status conference with a federal judge today.

The proceeding could provide a clearer picture of how much progress has been made in the mediation talks. Participants have been unable to disclose details of the talks because of a confidentiality agreement.

Harlan Miller, the attorney for 34 plaintiffs in the suit, said he hoped the prospect of a resolution would be decided one way or the other at the conference.

"I hope we know an answer by tomorrow," he said Thursday after the day's meeting ended.

John Stivarius, Hill's counsel, said talks would continue next week.

"We're just done for this week," he said.

Stivarius also couldn't say whether he was pleased with the progress of talks yet.

"I'm in the process," he said.

At the very least, Stivarius said the mediation established a framework for further negotiations and discussions.