Tupelo Airport Authority lawsuit request: No crying allowed
The Tupelo Regional Airport Authority was sued in early 2011 by former airport executive director Terry Anderson, whom it fired in December 2009. The case has been hanging around since then, and another lawsuit involving former airport operations director Reid Dawe was settled in April.
Anderson’s trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 21 in Oxford. He is suing the authority for age discrimination and violating his First Amendment right.
Yesterday, an attorney for the authority filed a motion in limine, a move often used before the start of a trial requesting the judge to rule on certain testimony regarding evidence or information be excluded or included.
Among the TRAA’s requesst to exclude:
- EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS: “In past trials, plaintiff’s counsel has consistently displayed varying degrees of emotional outbursts before the jury, specifically crying and other related behaviors. Such conduct could sway the jury to act out of pity, sympathy, emotion and/or disbelief, rather than returning a just verdict according to the facts of the case and the governing law.”
- GOLDEN RULE ARGUMENTS: Any direct or indirect requests for the jury to “put themselves in the shoes” of Anderson
- DEROGATORY COMMENTS: Any general derogatory comments about the authority or its current or former employees or current or former board members
- CONFLICTS OF INTEREST/ETHICAL VIOLATIONS: The airport board anticipates Anderson “may offer testimony and/or that his attorneys may interrogate witnesses or make arguments regarding alleged conflicts of interest with and/or ethical violations by members” of the board “in order to suggest to the jury that the plaintiff was terminated for exposing these alleged conflicts of interest and/or ethical violations.” The board said Anderson never blew the whistle at anytime while he was employed at the airport.
- RESPONSE TO FOIA REQUESTS: Anderson has filed several Freedom of Information Act requests, but the board has apparently not given him all he’s requested. Specifically, it said it denied Anderson’srequest for a copy of the resumes of the people who applied to replace him after he was fired. The board said whether or not it responded to his FOIA request has no bearing on the issues raised in the lawsuit.
- IMPROPER RELIGIOUS REFERENCES: The motion says, “in past trails plaintiff’s counsel has interjected inflammatory and prejudicial comments that suggest to the jury members that their religious beliefs should guide their ultimate decision in the case.”
The board in its motion said that if any of these terms are violated, it “may constitute contempt and necessitate a mistrial.”