HOLMBERG: Ex-employee files lawsuit against Richmond sheriff

Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 01, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- A former employee has filed a $5.75 million dollar lawsuit against Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr.

Woody is being sued by Yuvonka Lewis, who said she was wrongfully fired in 2011 after being accused of telling the media that Woody had been hiring his own family members, including one with a criminal history.

Lewis was a captain at the Richmond Sheriff's Department before she was let go.

Woody told CBS 6 News in a statement Friday that Lewis' earlier lawsuit was dismissed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and that "the timing of this lawsuit after the EEOC dismissed her complaint wreaks of political capitalism.”

Court records show Richmond sheriffs are routinely sued. The past three sheriff’s, including Woody, have been sued – together – about 300 times. Usually they are suits by prisoners saying their rights were violated. However, sometimes they come from fired employees, like Lewis.

This case is big news because of her rank and the fact that the Times-Dispatch is named in the suit as the publisher of the scandal about Woody’s nepotism, even though Style Weekly initially broke the story months earlier.

Representing her in the EEOC complaint – which was thrown out - was Sa-ad El-Amin, a felon, former city councilman and no friend of Woody’s.

So now this $5 million dollar PLUS lawsuit, making the same claims that she was unfairly interrogated, subjected to a polygraph test, accused of breaching computer security and fired..

The suit also has juicy details that portray Woody as a pompous fool, requiring his command staff and prisoners to stand at attention when he enters the room or passes by, some of which – by the way - is partially true.

So who filed the lawsuit for Lewis?

The answer: Attorney JeRoyd Greene III, the son of JeRoyd Greene II – none other than Sa’ad El-Amin before he changed his name.

The lawsuit was filed and given the press just a little than a week before the election.

Woody didn’t want to go on camera, but he gave me this statement:

"Ms. Lewis has attempted to file such a claim before utilizing a similar allegation which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission summarily dismissed over a year ago.  The timing of this lawsuit after the EEOC dismissed her complaint, wreaks of political capitalism."

 Woody has two opponents next week, although he’s certain to win by a landslide. But will this lawsuit stick where the EEOC complaint failed? Time will tell.

It’s interesting to note that while the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on October 24, Woody still hasn’t been served with it.

Why is this important? Because once it’s served, the clock on legal expenses begins. And if the plaintiff – Lewis – loses the case, she could be on the hook for Woody’s legal fees, which could be huge.

Stay tuned . . .