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Harassment case dismissed

By: Greg Bird

It appears Rhonda and David Ivey agreed to dismiss their lawsuit, closing their harassment lawsuit against the County after more than two years of litigation.

The McCreary County Emergency Medical Services, McCreary County Fiscal Court and EMS Director Jimmy Barnett were named as defendants in the original suit, which alleged the couple was terminated from their positions with the McCreary County Ambulance Service as retaliation for their complaints about sexual harassment suffered by Rhonda Ivey during her tenure.

According to documents filed in the United States District Court in London on August 30, both parties agreed to dismiss the case, with each side to pay their own share of costs and legal fees.

McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens confirmed there was an agreement between both parties to dismiss the case, but could not discuss details, citing a non-disclosure agreement.

The County was represented by the Kentucky Association of Counties, which provides insurance and legal assistance to counties in the state.

Attorney Jason Williams, who represented the defendants in the case also offered no comments and would not disclose any information regarding the agreement.

The County’s legal fees would have been paid for through the County’s insurance carrier – KACO.

With the non-disclosure agreement, it is unclear what the final agreement entails, but if it involved the defendants paying anything above their own legal fees, it could affect the County’s insurance premiums in coming years.

Rhonda and David Ivey filed the initial lawsuit in 2012 after being terminated from their positions at McCreary County EMS the previous year.

In the lawsuit Rhonda Ivey alleged that several members of EMS, including Jimmy Barnett, who since was named EMS Director, had made rude comments concerning her breast augmentation surgeries. Ivey stated he had complained to then EMS Director Amy Barnett, but no actions were taken.

The suit contended the couple was subsequently fired from their position as retaliation for their complaints.

Attorneys for the defense had disputed the claims; supplying depositions from several individuals denying any untoward activities had taken place, as well as documentation of numerous work-related complaints against the Ivey’s.

Both parties met in a court-ordered settlement conference in July, but failed to reach an agreement and proceedings continued.

The Ivey’s sought an undisclosed amount of compensation and damages for loss of income and benefits, severe emotional distress and mental anguish, as well as back pay for accrued vacation and sick time.

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