Ousted bus system CEO files lawsuit after firing
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) is facing new legal trouble. A new federal lawsuit targets CATS for firing former CEO William Deville.
According to the lawsuit, Deville felt his firing stemmed from a spat with a union that represents bus drivers.
After CATS leadership refused to provide the drivers with hazard pay during the pandemic, union members began a “public campaign to discredit CATS and its leadership,” according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, results from a CATS comptroller’s failed drug test were leaked to the union and other CATS critics.
Deville allegedly took steps to question the legitimacy of those results by adding context from medical experts who suggested that the comptroller was prescribed medication that would have created a false positive for illegal drugs on the test, according to the lawsuit. However, other members of CATS leadership and the CATS board had already begun calling for the comptroller’s firing, according to the lawsuit.
Specifically, CATS board president Kahli Cohran is named in the lawsuit and accused of putting pressure on Deville to fire the comptroller.
“The Comptroller subsequently filed suit which resulted in a settlement that included CATS’s payment of monetary damages, and a statement that the Comptroller was innocent,” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Cohran and members of the CATS board began a “relentless campaign of retaliation, harassment, and discrimination” against Deville which included inappropriate comments about his age.
Deville was ultimately stripped of his title and duties in April of 2022, but was kept on the payroll until the CATS board formally parted ways with him in June of that same year.
Deville is represented by two Texas attorneys from the Muhammad Law Firm in Dallas. He is seeking no less than $800,000 in backpay. The lawsuit was filed in Louisiana’s Middle District Court Monday November 11.
A CATS spokesman says agency officials are unable to comment on pending litigation.
Read lawsuit below:
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