Former deputies’ lawsuit against Davis dismissed

Published 7:50 pm Thursday, August 21, 2008

A suit filed by two former Chilton County Sheriff deputies against Sheriff Kevin Davis has been dismissed.

In an order released last week, U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller ordered that all claims against Davis were dismissed without prejudice and that the September trial date for the case was cancelled.

The plaintiffs in the case were Robbie Autery and Shane Fulmer, both of which were fired by Davis last fall. Fulmer is the son of former Chilton County Sheriff Billy Wayne Fulmer, who at one time was married to Autery’s aunt.

The plaintiffs in the case had 10 days to file an appeal in a higher court from when the order was filed Aug. 13. Davis did not wish to comment until after no appeal had been filed during the 10-day window.

The order stated that Davis’ decision to fire the two employees was “objectively reasonable.”

“The record in this case is indisputable that Sheriff Davis had adequate and lawful reasons to support terminating plaintiffs’ employment…,” the order states.

One of the reasons why Autery and Fulmer were suing Davis was because he had not worked with the Chilton County Commission to create a merit board, claiming that it deprived them of due process.

The ruling, however, states that government employees have no “substantive due process right” regarding their employment, and that the plaintiffs failed to show any constitutional violations of due process.

Another claim in the suit said that the termination violated their freedom of speech because both Autery and Shane Fulmer had campaigned for Billy Wayne Fulmer in the 2006 sheriff’s election against Davis. But the court ruled that claim had no merit.

– Brent Maze can be reached at