, vs. WALKER COUNTY, ALABAMA, and SHERIFF JOHN MARK TIREY, in his individual capacity, Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )


COMPLAINT COMES NOW the plaintiff, by and through his undersigned counsel and states his Complaint against the defendants as follows: INTRODUCTION This action is brought to vindicate the rights of the plaintiff under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Alabama law after he was harassed and terminated from public employment in retaliation for having brought to light illegal activities of agents of the Walker County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department. PARTIES 1. Plaintiff, Adam Hadder, is an adult resident of Walker County, Alabama, and

during the time of the events made the basis of this litigation was employed as a Walker County Sheriff’s Department Deputy. 2. Walker County, Alabama, is a County of the State of Alabama, and is responsible

for the operation of the Walker County Sheriff’s Department. 3. John Mark Tirey (hereinafter “Tirey”), is an adult resident of Walker County,

Alabama, and has been the elected Sheriff of Walker County since 1995. Tirey is sued in his individual capacity. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 4. herein. 5. This Honorable Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action by All preceding paragraphs are realleged and incorporated as if fully set forth

virtue of 28, U.S.C. 1331 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as the actions complained of were committed under color of state law. Plaintiff’s state law cause of action arises from the same nucleus of operative fact, and is proper for supplemental jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1467. 6. All acts complained of occurred in the Jasper Division of the Northern District of

Alabama, making venue appropriate in this Court. FACTUAL SUMMARY 7. herein. 8. Plaintiff, Adam Hadder (hereinafter “Hadder” or “plaintiff”) was employed by the All preceding paragraphs are realleged and incorporated as if fully set forth

Walker County Sheriff’s Department (hereinafter “County” or “Department”) for approximately fifteen years, thirteen of those years as a deputy with the Narcotics Enforcement Team (hereinafter “NET”). 9. In or around January 2001, Paul Kilgore (deceased) (hereinafter “Kilgore”), the

Chief Deputy of the County was promoted to the Director of NET. Plaintiff became the Assistant Director of NET in or around January 2007. 10. Plaintiff and the other members of the NET team investigated narcotics 2

trafficking, made undercover buys, and in the course of arrests, seized illegal drugs and cash from suspects. All monies seized were counted and turned over to Kilgore, while drug evidence was stored in the County’s evidence locker. 11. The NET squad had a bank account which assisted in funding its operations, and

members of the squad were given cash to make undercover drug buys from this account. Funds which were forfeited by convicted suspects were placed into this account to be used for law enforcement purposes. Kilgore was an authorized signatory on this account (upon information and belief Tirey was as well). Kilgore routinely wrote checks from this account to officers in the squad for “buy money.” 12. Kilgore misappropriated funds from this account on a regular basis, paying

personal bills from the account for himself, his wife and children, and for the secretary of the squad who was, upon information and belief, his mistress and the mother of his illegitimate child. 13. On or about June 9, 2010, plaintiff and his colleagues, including his partner, Steve

Smith, made an arrest and seized Eight Thousand and no/100 Dollars ($8,000.00) in cash, as well as drug evidence. (This incident will be hereinafter sometimes referred to as “the arrest”). This currency, in various denominations, was transported to the County Sheriff’s office, counted, photographed, and turned over to Kilgore. 14. A short time later an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted the

plaintiff inquiring as to whether he could take over this case in order to prosecute it federally. Plaintiff immediately agreed, and delivered his case file and the drug evidence to the FBI agent. 15. The agent then requested the cash that was seized during the arrest, at which time 3

plaintiff informed him that he had counted the money and turned it over to Kilgore. 16. Several weeks later the County Sheriff’s office received a Grand Jury subpoena

requesting the cash which had been seized in the arrest. The subpoena directed that the cash seized during the arrest be delivered to the Birmingham, Alabama FBI Field Office. 17. Upon receipt of this subpoena Kilgore became demonstrably agitated, at which

point plaintiff decided to speak to Tirey about the situation. When plaintiff telephoned Tirey and informed him in a general sense of what he wished to discuss, Tirey instructed Hadder to meet him in an alley beside the power company building, as opposed to at the County’s office. 18. Plaintiff Hadder met the Sheriff at the location he ordered, and then informed

Tirey about the missing money from the arrest, in addition to other wrongdoing by Kilgore of which Hadder was aware. 19. Tirey then informed the plaintiff that “he [Tirey] would take care of it,] and that if

“anyone wanted talk about the situation, especially the FBI,” that Hadder was to “keep [his] damn mouth shut,” and not to say “a fucking word.” During the same week plaintiff also consulted Bill Adair, the Walker County District Attorney, and informed Mr. Adair of the situation. Mr. Adair informed Hadder that he had heard similar stories about Kilgore in the past, and promised to look into the situation. Upon information and belief, the only action taken by Mr. Adair was to report this conversation to Tirey. 20. Approximately two weeks after the meeting between Hadder and Tirey, Kilgore

approached the plaintiff and informed him that he was going to take the missing money to the FBI, and inquired of Hadder as to what the FBI knew about the case. Plaintiff Hadder informed Kilgore that the FBI had his entire case file. 4


Upon information and belief, when Kilgore arrived at the FBI field office with the

money allegedly seized from the arrest, he presented Eight Thousand Dollars ($8,000.00) in One Hundred Dollar ($100.00) bills. However, when the cash evidence was originally counted and documented, the money was in several different denominations, therefore the cash that Kilgore presented to the FBI could not have been the actual money seized in the arrest. Upon his return to the County Sheriff’s Office, Kilgore berated plaintiff Hadder for not having previously informed him that the FBI was aware of what denominations were seized in the arrest. 22. Approximately three weeks later, when Tirey had not disciplined Kilgore in any

way, and no changes had been made at the unit, plaintiff decided to contact the FBI. Fearing retribution if his actions were made known to Sheriff Tirey, he sent a written account of Kilgore’s actions to the FBI by courier. 23. On January 13, 2012, two agents of the FBI arrived at Hadder’s home inquiring

about Kilgore and Tirey. Plaintiff Hadder provided a sworn statement about the activities of Kilgore and Tirey, including the recent theft. 24. 25. On January 17, 2012, FBI agents served a search warrant on the NET offices. The following Monday, January 23, 2012, Tirey called plaintiff Hadder and his

colleagues into his office to announce that he was shutting down the NET unit, and that everyone should report to the Sheriff’s office the following Monday, in uniform, to be placed back on patrol. 26. On January 23, 2012, Tirey officially decommissioned the NET squad, citing

financial hardship to the public and press. 27. The following Monday plaintiff realized that only he and his partner had actually 5

been pulled from the drug unit and placed back on patrol. The “former” NET office remained open, and Kilgore and several others, including Kilgore’s son Micha continued to work there. 28. Plaintiff Hadder and his partner had seniority over several other officers in the

unit, but plaintiff was not allowed to choose his off days or position. Further, plaintiff Hadder was stripped of his title as Assistant Director of NET (along with the salary bonus which accompanied that title). Plaintiff was also stripped of his lead firearms instructor position, his SWAT team commander position and his Director of the Reserve Deputy Program position. 29. Simultaneously, Hadder was locked out of his former office at the NET squad,

and was not allowed to go back into the office to collect his professional or personal items. However, Kilgore and other deputies were given keys and allowed full access to the premises. 30. Department. 31. On February 6, 2012, Paul Kilgore was involved in a single vehicle car wreck at On January 30, 2012, Kilgore ostensibly retired from the Walker County Sheriff’s

approximately 9:00 am, during which his County issued patrol car left the road and struck several trees. Kilgore died later in the day, and his death was later determined to be suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound, while driving. 32. It should be noted that although Tirey later claimed that Kilgore had resigned

from the County on January 30, 2012, he was driving his County issued Ford Crown Victoria when he committed suicide. 33. After Kilgore’s death, plaintiff Hadder received threats to his life and to the lives

of his family members. Hadder was even accused of having killed Kilgore, an allegation which was proved patently false by the autopsy report. When plaintiff requested protection for his 6

family as a result of these threats Tirey refused. Hadder eventually got police protection from the Jasper Police Department since the County would not help. 34. Tirey, a close friend of Kilgore, (and upon information and belief, an additional

recipient of funds Kilgore misappropriated from the County), blamed Hadder for Kilgore’s death, calling him at various times “a snitch” among other epithets. Tirey told the plaintiff that if “[he] had kept [his] mouth shut, Kilgore would still be alive.” 35. Tirey informed plaintiff Hadder that he (Hadder) should quit, or Tirey would find

a reason to fire him. 36. Contemporaneously with these conversations, plaintiff Hadder’s desk and other

items in the former NET offices were severely damaged, and some items destroyed. Tirey and others at the County blamed Hadder, although he had no key, accusing him of breaking into the offices and destroying property. A police report was filed accusing plaintiff of this. When Tirey was eventually informed that it was Blair Huddleston (another NET officer) who caused the damage, Tirey told the plaintiff that he (Tirey) had no interest in finding out what had happened, and would not pursue any investigation into the incident. 37. When plaintiff inquired of Sheriff Tirey as to what had become of his personal

belongings he was not allowed to retrieve from the NET office, Tirey informed him that his belongings had been boxed up and placed in a bay near the NET unit. 38. After collecting said boxes and taking them to his home, plaintiff discovered

when unsealing said boxes that they contained – in addition to his personal belongings – firearms, illegal drugs and cash from the NET squad, which had been planted with his belongings. Plaintiff contacted the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the City of Birmingham 7

Police Department, inter alia to collect these boxes. Plaintiff Hadder is still missing a personally owned Glock pistol which was taken from his former desk in the NET unit. 39. In the following months plaintiff was subjected to harassment by Tirey, in myriad

forms, repeatedly being told that if he hadn’t “snitched,” that Kilgore would still be alive. 40. Prior to the incidents made the basis of this litigation, plaintiff Hadder had

conducted an investigation into a Walker County attorney for possession and distribution of illegal drugs. Despite overwhelming physical evidence, plaintiff Hadder was prevented from seeing his investigation through by Tirey. 41. After Kilgore’s death, the same attorney filed two lawsuits against Hadder, for

incidents which occurred years prior to the filing, and for which Hadder was never disciplined by the County. Upon information and belief, Tirey conspired with said attorney to file frivolous complaints against the plaintiff in order to create an excuse for plaintiff’s termination. 42. Sheriff Tirey subsequently used these civil actions as a pretextual reason for

terminating plaintiff Hadder’s employment with the County on September 27, 2012. 43. As a result of plaintiff’s termination, he has suffered lost wages and damages to

his reputation, as well as emotional distress and mental anguish. COUNT I VIOLATION OF PLAINTIFF’S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS UNDER THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION 42 U.S.C. § 1983 44. 45. Plaintiff adopts and realleges each preceding paragraph as if fully set forth herein. Plaintiff, as a County Deputy Sheriff, was a classified employee under the Walker

County Civil Service Board, and possessed a property interest in his employment with the 8

County. 46. Tirey, and the County, deprived plaintiff of his employment, under color of state

law when plaintiff was terminated in retaliation for having revealed Kilgore’s illegal activities. 47. Tirey and the County acted maliciously, willfully, under a mistaken understanding

of the law, and/or outside the scope of their authority. Plaintiff’s termination was deliberate and punitive. 48. Defendants’ actions proximately caused him to lose wages and benefits, and

caused damage to his reputation in the community, among other damages. 49. WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff demands judgment against

the defendants in such an amount as a jury may assess as just, including the costs of this action and a reasonable attorney’s fee. Plaintiff prays for such other, further and different relief to which he may be entitled. COUNT II VIOLATION OF ALABAMA CODE § 36-25-24 50. 51. Plaintiff adopts and realleges each preceding paragraph as if fully set forth herein. Code of Alabama §36-25-24 provides in part as follows:

(a) A supervisor shall not discharge, demote, transfer, or otherwise discriminate against a public employee regarding such employee's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on the employee's reporting a violation, or what he or she believes in good faith to be a violation, of this chapter or giving truthful statements or truthful testimony concerning an alleged ethics violation. 52. Plaintiff gave statements to the FBI concerning Kilgore’s illegal activity, and

corruption within the County Sheriff’s Department. 53. Hadder’s information was sufficient to provide probable cause for the FBI to 9

obtain a warrant and subsequently search the NET offices. Upon realizing that he would soon be arrested, Kilgore elected to take his own life rather than face the consequences of his actions. 54. Tirey and the County deliberately retaliated against plaintiff for having provided

this information to the FBI. Tirey specifically blamed Hadder for Kilgore’s death, and conspired with others to create a pretextual reason to terminate Hadder’s employment. 55. As a proximate result of the defendant’s actions, Hadder was caused to lose wages

and benefits, was caused to suffer damage to his reputation in the community and suffered mental distress and emotional anguish, among other damages. WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, plaintiff demands judgment of the defendants, in such an amount as a jury may assess as just, including the costs of this action and a reasonable attorney’s fee. Plaintiff prays for such other, further and different relief to which he may be entitled. Respectfully submitted,

<s> Mary-Ellen Bates Mary-Ellen Bates OF COUNSEL: BATES, HETZEL, PC. The McAdory Building 2013 1st Avenue North, Suite 450 Birmingham, Alabama 35203 Telephone: (205) 453-0060 Facsimile: (205) 453-0042



PLEASE SERVE DEFENDANTS VIA CERTIFIED MAIL AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: Sheriff John Mark Tirey 2001 2nd Avenue Jasper, Alabama 35501 Walker County Commission 1801 3rd Avenue South Jasper, Alabama 35502


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