published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Sheriff's deputy who mowed the lawn 'in his underwear' has lawsuit dismissed

A federal judge in Chattanooga has dismissed a lawsuit in which a former Bradley County deputy sheriff claimed he was wrongfully fired.

U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier dismissed the lawsuit by Dallas Longwith against Bradley County, the sheriff's office and Sheriff Jim Ruth, according to a news release from sheriff's spokesman Bob Gault.

Longwith was fired in January 2012 for conduct unbecoming an officer and failing to comply with a direct order of a superior, the release states.

Earlier, Longwith had been suspended after the sheriff's office said neighbors had complained at least twice about him mowing his lawn in his underwear.

Longwith said that he was wearing knee-length shorts, not underwear. He claimed he was terminated for political reasons because he openly supported another candidate for sheriff in the 2014 races.

In the lawsuit filed in January, Longwith claimed he was only one of dozens of sheriff's office employees fired or demoted for political reasons.

Collier's ruling stated that Longwith put forth no evidence sufficient to overcome the summary judgment.

"He had not demonstrated that Sheriff Ruth knew about – never mind fired him because of – plaintiff’s activities in support of someone else’s potential 2014 bid for sheriff," Gault stated in the news release.

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