Patrick’s lawsuit moves forward after mixed rulings

Patrick is suing the city and several present and former supervisors for them forging his signature on official city documents for eight years after he retired.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:43 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A judge issued differing decisions Wednesday in a lawsuit brought by longtime but now-retired city employee Larry Patrick, whose name the city of Dothan repeatedly forged.

Houston County Circuit Judge Christopher Richardson dismissed claims made by Patrick against present and former Department of Leisure Services supervisors in their official capacity.

Those include current director Allison Hall and former supervisors Roy Kitts and Stephanie Wingfield.

However, Richardson left intact negligence allegations against the same defendants.

He tossed a forgery claim Patrick made against the city, where he worked for 34 years, but left the same claims against other defendants intact.

For eight years after he retired from the city’s recreation program in 2013, Patrick’s name appeared on paperwork required to receive federal reimbursement for its afterschool feeding program, which his department supervised.

A News4 investigation uncovered the electronic forgery last August as the FBI investigated fraud allegations not involving Patrick.

Patrick claims the city’s negligence caused him mental anguish and harmed his reputation.

The city blamed Stephanie Wingfield, the feeding program coordinator who lost her job amid allegations of other falsified paperwork.

“Ms. Wingfield didn’t use updated log-in credentials for the on-line submittals after she became responsible for the program after Larry (Patrick) retired,” City Manager Kevin Cowper told News 4 last year.

In his other rulings related to the suit, Richardson left intact claims of negligent hiring by the city but dismissed similar allegations against the defendants.

He also refused to dismiss allegations of civil conspiracy claims against all defendants, including the city.

Patrick, who retired in 2013, seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

The lawsuit’s next hearing will likely come in 2024.

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