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Curry County Win Appeals’ Court Victory

Post Date:02/07/2020 8:22 PM

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Media Contact
Susan D. Mayes
smayes@nmcounties.org
505.820.8102

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 07, 2020         

Curry County Win Appeals’ Court Victory

SANTA FE, NM – On February 5, 2020, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Curry County on Gerry Billy’s New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act claim.

When the County didn’t renew former adult detention center warden Gerry Billy’s contract in early 2013, Mr. Billy, through his attorney Eric Dixon, Esq., brought a lawsuit under the Whistleblower Protection Act alleging that the non-renewal was based on his refusal to discipline an employee. A jury agreed and awarded back pay, other damages, and interest.

The County appealed the District Court decision and argued that Curry County had legitimate reasons to support their decision not to renew Mr. Billy’s contract. The County also argued that none of Mr. Billy’s conduct was protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Court of Appeals agreed and held that Mr. Billy had offered insufficient evidence to support his claim. After reviewing the record, the Court of Appeals overturned the verdict and found in favor of Curry County.

New Mexico Counties Legal Bureau Chief Brandon Huss handled the appeal for the County.

“Curry County is very pleased that the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Billy’s termination as the County’s Detention Warden was not improper and did not constitute a violation of New Mexico laws,” stated County Manager Lance Pyle. “The decision not to renew Mr. Billy’s contract was based solely on the County’s concerns regarding the operation and management of its Detention Center.”

The New Mexico Counties is a non-profit, nonpartisan association representing New Mexico’s 33 counties since 1936.

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