Woman claims Hurricane wrongly fired her

By Chris Dickerson | May 25, 2006

WINFIELD – The daughter of Hurricane's former police chief has filed a lawsuit against the city.

WINFIELD – The daughter of Hurricane's former police chief has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Kelly M. Luikart filed the suit May 17 in Putnam Circuit Court. She claims city officials fired her without reason on Aug. 27, 2004.

In her complaint, filed by Hurricane attorney Frank Armada, Luikart says she was hired by the city on Sept. 22, 2000, as a secretary/court clerk "with the implied understanding that so long as she satisfactorily complied and obeyed the rules and regulations of employment as set out in the City of Hurricane Personnel Policy Handbook she would continue in her employment with the city."

She says her firing nearly four years later breached that contract. She claims she suffered damages in terms of lost wages of about $11,200. She also says she suffered mental anguish, distress and humiliation. She also alleges the firing damaged her reputation in the community.

Luikart also claims her firing was willful, wanton and malicious "in that the purported grounds for firing were fabricated and fraudulent and brought for the sole purpose o removing the plaintiff from the premises of City Hall in view of the fact that the City of Hurricane had terminated her father's services as Chief of Police."

Her father, Lawrence D. Foster, had been suspended and fired from that post days earlier because of alleged improper conduct, according to court documents.

Foster also has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Putnam Circuit Court that still is pending. He claims he should have been demoted before being fired.

Hurricane officials say Foster was fired for a variety of reasons, including making threats against officers who were going to blow the whistle on things happening within the department, misrepresenting costs for equipment and using a city account to improperly rent equipment. Foster has denied those allegations.

Luikart seeks the lost wages of about $11,200 as well as pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees, court costs and punitive damages.

She requests a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 06-C-159

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