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Lindsey files intent to sue after Avery termination
30 days offered on $1.5 million settlement

Ante litem is a Latin term meaning "before litigation." Some governmental entities, such as, counties, police departments, school systems, and municipalities, may require that you send an ante litem notice of an intent to sue them in order to proceed with a lawsuit.

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COVINGTON, Ga. – Stephanie Lindsey, of The Lindsey Firm, has issued notice to nine individuals in reference to the termination of former Newton County Recreation Commission Director Anthony Avery.

According to the notice, which is dated March 19, Lindsey intends to file suit against Newton County Chairman Marcello Banes, Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston, Newton County Commissioner Stan Edwards, former NCRC Chairman Danny Stone, Former NCRC board members Josh McKelvey, Tim Fleming, Julius Hays, Scheree Howard and Steve Rhodes.

“I am presenting his state claims for general and special damages, both past and future, including but not limited to lost wages, pain and suffering and any other damages allowed under Georgia and ancillary federal law within the 12-month period required by statute,” according to the notice. “To the extent that you require us to provide a dollar value for this claim, we believe that the value of Mr. Avery’s claim in totality may exceed $2 million.”

Lindsey noted a previous settlement offer, in the amount of $750,000, was rejected by the county. Since then the settlement offer has increased to $1.5 million.

PDF: Anthony Avery Ante Litem Notice

“As we have obtained additional evidence in this matter, it is our belief that the posture of this case has strongly shifted even more in our favor,” she wrote in the notice.

She offered a 30-day window for the $1.5 million settlement offer.

Lindsey also claims to have evidence that the termination of Avery was based on race.

“In addition, based upon the interview of witnesses, in preparation for the Appeal Hearing, several individuals are prepared to testify that the outlined causes for the termination of Anthony Avery were pretextual and the motive was, undoubtedly, race driven.”

Lindsey contends Stone, McKelvey, Fleming, Howard, Rhodes, Hays and Edwards “intentionally, deliberately, conspired willfully and with malice to violate Anthony Avery’s constitutional rights.” Each official is subject to personal liability due to their involvement, according to the notice.

Banes and Johnston are included in the notices due to their roles with the city and county, which operated the NCRC as a “joint venture,” according to the notice. The notice does not indicate her intention to pursue them for personal liability.

Avery was terminated by the NCRC board during its Nov. 27, 2017 meeting. The board voted 5-0, with Howard, Fleming, Hays, McKelvey and Rhodes voting to approve the termination.  Stone presided as chair. All of the previously mentioned members have either resigned from their positions

Since then, Newton County initially put Avery on administrative leave and he was later terminated by the county on Jan. 30. An appeal hearing was held on his termination March 9.