Former sheriff, chief deputy dropped from Madison County deputy’s retaliation lawsuit

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A Madison County Sheriff’s Office deputy who claims he was retaliated against for helping a fellow deputy with a sexual harassment claim has dropped his case against the former sheriff and chief deputy.

Gregory Gray filed an amended complaint in U.S. District Court late Wednesday that did not include former sheriff Blake Dorning or Madison Police Chief David Jernigan — who was Dorning’s chief deputy — as defendants in the case. It also drops complaints against Madison County commissioners in their individual capacities, with the exception of commission Chairman Dale Strong.

Gray is suing Madison County, the Madison County Commission, Strong, county human resources director Jermie Howell and deputy director Pam Flory. Last month a judge ruled that Gray could not sue the sheriff’s office because the department is not a legal entity that can be sued.

His lawsuit is related to a claim made by former sheriff’s office deputy Shelby Holt that she was sexually harassed by a supervisor. Gray claims he was suspended and removed from the county’s SWAT team in retaliation for trying to help Holt.

Holt also sued the sheriff’s office but the case was thrown out after she failed to get a new attorney in the case and missed several court-ordered deadlines.

Gray had until the end of Wednesday to file the amended complaint, which was stamped and filed in court seven minutes before midnight.



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