Police lawsuit on wages dismissed

Sergeants' case against city sought overtime pay

The city of Lawrence has been granted a summary judgment in U.S. District Court that dismisses a lawsuit by police sergeants claiming they were wrongfully denied overtime pay.

The police sergeants still can appeal the decision issued in Topeka by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius.

The sergeants sought overtime compensation at a rate of one and a half times their regular pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week.

The city, however, argued that the sergeants — as executives and administrative employees within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act — were exempt and not entitled to overtime pay.

The city sought a summary judgment showing there was no issue of material facts or evidence that could be tried. Sebelius decided there was no sufficient evidence to be submitted to a jury.

“It is clear to the court that plaintiffs perform management duties within the meaning of FLSA executive exemption,” Sebelius wrote in his decision.

The case was an important one that needed to be decided, said Gerald Cooley, the city’s attorney.

“Each side had the opportunity to argue and present their sides,” Cooley said.

Tom Lemon, a Topeka attorney representing the sergeants, couldn’t be reached for comment.

The sergeants who filed the lawsuit are: Richard Nickell, Craig Shanks, Susan Hadl, Kirk Fultz, Tarik Khatib, David Hubbel, Mike Pattrick, Doug Bell, Randy Roberts, Mack Pryor, Paul Fellers and Mark Warren.

Bell and Pryor are now retired.