Lawnmower loses lawsuit; ruling pending on payment

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Marshall County School Board member who won and then lost a contract to mow county lawns has lost in General Sessions Civil Court where he complained he'd not been paid what he was owed for cutting grass last year.

Curt Denton's complaint was heard by Lincoln County Sessions Court Judge Andy Myrick on May 28. Myrick agreed to serve when Marshall County Sessions Court Judge Steve Bowden recused himself because the complaint was against the county. Bowden's budget comes from the County Commission, the panel that hired and then fired Denton.

County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett said Wednesday he anticipated a ruling from Myrick within two weeks.

As proprietor of Denton Lawn Care, 1559 Spring Place Road, Denton sued on March 30. A month later, county commissioners assigned County Attorney Ginger Shofner to defend the county and she filed a countersuit for reimbursement of her attorney fees and other costs incurred by the county. Denton served as his own lawyer.

Denton has explained the county was paying him in 12 monthly installments before he was told to stop cutting county grass. He wanted payments in eight installments for the months of the mowing season, thereby increasing his payments. He wanted the county to pay him $2,339.20 more than he's been paid, plus $172.50 in court costs.

Shofner and commissioners have explained they wanted their lawn-mowing contractor to have workers' compensation insurance. Denton sought a policy, but the underwriter wanted issues resolved from a previous policy before issuing another. The county permitted two delays so Denton could secure the insurance coverage.

"The judge saw it the way the county commission and everybody here saw it," County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett said at the Courthouse Annex.

Denton, a former school bus driver - before he was elected to the school board - was mowing grass at the library, the Hardison Office Annex, the Courthouse and other county properties.