Attorney pleased with fired worker’s rehire

An attorney representing former Mt. Juliet parks director Dennis Buchanan, who sued the city after he was fired, said she was pleased with the city's recent decision to rehire Buchanan and pay a monetary settlement. "I believe the city wanted to control [its] fate in this case," attor...
Mar 22, 2013

An attorney representing former Mt. Juliet parks director Dennis Buchanan, who sued the city after he was fired, said she was pleased with the city's recent decision to rehire Buchanan and pay a monetary settlement.

"I believe the city wanted to control [its] fate in this case," attorney Tara Swafford said Thursday.

Buchanan said he was hurt on the job and had subsequent back surgeries. In March 2010, he was terminated. Buchanan said he was told he was fired because it was deemed he could not do his job. He said he could.

An attorney representing former Mt. Juliet parks director Dennis Buchanan, who sued the city after he was fired, said she was pleased with the city's recent decision to rehire Buchanan and pay a monetary settlement.
"I believe the city wanted to control [its] fate in this case," attorney Tara Swafford said Thursday.
Buchanan said he was hurt on the job and had subsequent back surgeries. In March 2010, he was terminated. Buchanan said he was told he was fired because it was deemed he could not do his job. He said he could.
Buchanan received a worker's compensation claim and settlement. However, according to Swafford, he also filed federal and civil lawsuits.
"We filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Swafford.
She said Judge Joe Brown in Nashville Federal Court recently sided with Buchanan in a summary judgment.
"He declared the law was in our favor," she said. "The case was ready to go to a jury trial on April 16."
Swafford said she was pleased city commissioners decided to avoid the jury trial and rehire Buchanan during discussions in an executive session Tuesday night.
"They did the right thing," she said. ""He will be rehired as the director of public affairs and was paid a settlement of $125,000 to cover expenses and attorney's fees. Mr. Buchanan will receive some of that settlement for emotional distress."
Swafford said Buchanan, 60, signed a contract that expires when he turns 66.
Buchanan was terminated under former Mayor Randy Robertson's administration.
"We showed that he was indeed able to do his job," said Swafford. "We are happy he is starting new under different leadership. He will do a great job for the city. It will be good for the city and good for him. It's a win-win situation."
On Wednesday, Buchanan said he was happy to put things behind him and looked forward to his new job.
City attorney Gino Marchetti returned a call Thursday and confirmed the arrangements for Buchanan.
"He will return to work on May 15," he said, "at the salary of $60,000."
Marchetti also confirmed the monetary settlement amount.

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