- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

McCOMB, Miss. (AP) - The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld an earlier ruling that awarded $150,000 in back pay for a former McComb police officer who found himself out of a job after changing his mind about his intention to retire.

A three-judge panel upheld a 2014 verdict Monday that determined the city was liable for firing Lt. Mark Anderson without due process of the law in 2009, The Enterprise-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1TwJT7u).

In August 2009, Anderson announced his intention to retire upon using accumulated leave, but he didn’t file the proper paperwork. Then-city administrator Quordiniah Lockley interpreted the matter as Anderson’s decision to resign immediately.

After Anderson did not show up to work for several days, Mayor Zach Patterson announced at a Sept. 8 Board of Selectmen meeting that Anderson changed his mind about leaving. The board, however, maintained that Patterson did not have the authority to put Anderson back on the job.

The following week, Anderson showed up to work and drove in his squad car. When he returned, deputies arrested him on charges of joyriding and impersonating an officer.

The panel upheld the 2014 ruling and denied the city’s appeal, which sought to prove it wasn’t liable.

“A reasonable jury could find that Anderson was involuntarily terminated by the City of McComb without due process,” Judges E. Grady Jolly, Catharina Haynes and Gregg J. Costa wrote in their opinion on Monday.

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Information from: Enterprise-Journal, http://www.enterprise-journal.com

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