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Judge mulls motion in Scott-Randall civil suit

 

 

The husband of former Clayton County District Attorney Jewel Scott wants a civil complaint filed against him by her ex-chief of staff thrown out.

Lee Scott was in Clayton Superior Court, Thursday afternoon, with his attorney, Marsha Williams Mignott, on a motion for summary judgment to end the case brought in 2009 by Earl Randall.

Randall alleges that Jewel Scott fired him when he told her he planned to run, in 2008, for Clayton County Commission Chairman –– the same office her husband wanted.

Mignott told Judge Matthew Simmons that Randall had no contractual expectation of keeping his job.

"The facts in this case support that there is no right to a job in Georgia," said Mignott. "This is an at-will state, where an employer can terminate for any reason as long as it is not race-based."

MIgnott said Randall did not have a contract with Scott, either verbal or written, and that he cannot claim interference from a third party with a contract that does not exist.

Randall's attorney, Bill Atkins, agreed that his client had no contract, but contends that Lee Scott pressured his wife to fire Randall to keep him from running against him for office.

"There is no doubt he does not have a wrongful discharge claim," said Atkins. "But that is not the law when it applies to a third party, who induces an employer to terminate an employee. An employee may not be lawfully interfered with by a third party."

Atkins said when Randall made his announcement to run for office, Lee Scott turned to his wife and told her, "'I want him fired, I want him fired right now. I want him gone.'"

"Jewel Scott fired Mr. Randall five days after getting an invitation to his fund-raiser," said Atkins. "Lee Scott admitted that he was upset that Mr. Randall was running for this position, because he intended to run for the same office."

Mignott disagreed.

"There was no third-party interference and no evidence that Lee Scott influenced his wife to terminate Earl Randall," she said. "There are several reasons why Mr. Randall could have been terminated for wrongful behavior on the job, including campaigning on the job and using a work computer for personal reasons."

Mignott's motion for summary judgment was filed in July, but Atkins admittedly miscalculated the time he had to respond to the motion. MIgnott said she got the response Wednesday.

Simmons gave her until early November to file her response to Atkins' motions.

"I'll take this under advisement, and because the responses were filed late, give her about five weeks to respond," said Simmons. "I'll then give my ruling."