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ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2017 Sep 14 1:45 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2017CP2605913

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA )


COUNTY OF HORRY ) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
) FOR THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
)
John Kennedy )
)
) CASE NO.:
Plaintiff, )
)
)
vs. )
)
City of Myrtle Beach Police )
Department, and Amy Prock , ) SUMMONS
Angela Kegler, and John )
Pederson (In their Individual )
Capacities) )
Defendants . )
______________________________)

TO: ABOVE NAMED DEFENDANTS

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to answer the Complaint in this action,
a copy of which is herewith served upon you, and to serve a copy of your Answer to the
Complaint upon the subscriber at Gist Law Firm, 4400 North Main Street, Columbia, South
Carolina 29203, with thirty (30) days after the service thereof, exclusive of the day of such
service. If you fail to answer the Complaint within that time, the Plaintiff shall apply to the
Court for a judgment by default against you for the relief demanded in the Complaint.

GIST LAW FIRM, P.A.

______s/Donald Gist________________
Donald Gist
Aaron V. Wallace
4400 North Main Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29203
(803) 771-8007 Telephone
(803) 771-0063 Facsimile
September 14, 2017 Attorneys for Plaintiff
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2017 Sep 14 1:45 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2017CP2605913
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA )
COUNTY OF HORRY ) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
) FOR THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
)
John Kennedy )
)
) CASE NO.:
Plaintiff, )
)
)
vs. )
)
City of Myrtle Beach Police )
Department, and Amy Prock, ) COMPLAINT
Angela Kegler, and John )
Pederson (In their Individual )
Capacities) ) Jury Trial Requested
Defendants . )
___________________________)

Plaintiff, John Kennedy, by and through his undersigned attorneys, brings this action

against Defendants City of Myrtle Beach Police Department, Amy Prock, Angela Kegler, and

John Pederson (in their individual capacities) based on the allegations set forth below.

PARTIES

1. Plaintiff John Kennedy is a citizen and resident of Horry County, South Carolina.

2. Defendant, City of Myrtle Beach Police Department is a municipality police department

legally organized under the laws of the State of South Carolina which operates in the

County of Horry in South Carolina.

3. Defendant Amy Prock, upon information and belief, is a citizen and resident of Horry

County in Columbia, South Carolina. Defendant Prock was employed with Defendant at

all times relevant to this Complaint.


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4. Defendant Angela Kegler, upon information and belief, is a citizen and resident of Horry

County in Columbia, South Carolina. Defendant Kegler was employed with Defendant at all

times relevant to this Complaint.

5. Defendant John Pederson, upon information and belief, is a citizen and resident of Horry

County in Columbia, South Carolina. Defendant Pederson was employed with Defendant at

all times relevant to this Complaint.

JURISDICTION

6. The substantial part of the actions herein complained of took place in the State of South

Carolina, County of Horry.

7. This Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter jurisdiction over the

claims raised in this Complaint.

VENUE

8. Pursuant to the South Carolina Code Annotated 15-7- 30 (1976 & Supp. 2007), venue is

proper in this Court because the substantial part of the alleged acts or omissions giving rise

to the causes of action occurred in this county.

FACTS

9. Plaintiff originally began his employment with Defendant Myrtle Beach Police Department

on or around 1980 becoming a full time employee in March of 1982. Plaintiff served with

distinction until on or around 2008, at which time he retired from service. Subsequent to his

retirement, on or around June 2008, Plaintiff was rehired with the Department in the position

of Lieutenant over Defendants Office of Professional Standards.


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10. At the time of Plaintiffs rehire with the Defendant the Chief of Police was Warren Gall,

Chief of Police. Mr. Gall rehired Plaintiff with the Department on account of Plaintiffs

excellent service tract record.

11. Throughout the course of Plaintiffs tenure with the Department as a rehired employee,

Plaintiff again served the Defendant Police Department with distinction and honor.

12. On or around January 2014, due to Plaintiffs excellent service record, Plaintiff was

promoted to Captain over the Office of Support Services Division. Plaintiff continued to

perform his job at a high level routinely going above and beyond the call of duty.

13. On May 25, 2017, Mr. Galls employment as Chief of Police ended. Immediately

following the end of Mr. Galls tenure as Chief of Police on May 26, 2017, Defendant

Amy Prock, Assistant Chief of Police (hereinafter referred to as Prock) became the

Interim Chief of Defendant Myrtle Beach Police Department.

14. Shortly after Procks promotion to Interim Chief of Police, Prock, in conjunction with

Defendant John Pederson, City Manager (hereinafter referred to as Pederson), changed

the qualification for promotion to Captain by eliminating the requirement that Captains

within the Department possess a college degree.

15. In addition to Procks promotion to Interim Chief, Defendant Angela Kegler (hereinafter

referred to as Kegler) became director of Defendants Human Resources Department on

or about early 2017.

16. Defendant Prock remained the Interim Chief until July 3, 2017 at which time she was

sworn in as the regular full time Chief of the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

17. On or around the week of July 3, 2017, Plaintiff became aware, via the Police email

system, of an internal job posting for Assistant Chief of the Myrtle Beach Police
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Department. This position was only open to Captains within the Department. The

position constituted a promotion from Plaintiffs position as Captain over the Office of

Support Services Division and was a position for which Plaintiff was imminently

qualified. As a result, Plaintiff seized the opportunity to apply for the position and

completed the employment application process on or around July 9, 2017.

18. Due to Plaintiffs superior qualifications for the Assistant Chief position, during the week

of July 10, 2017, the Defendants Administrative Services Division scheduled Plaintiff to

participate in an interview for the position on or around July 14, 2017. Of the internal

applicants who applied for the position, Plaintiff was the most qualified in accordance

with Departmental standards.

19. On the morning of July 14, 2017, prior to Plaintiffs scheduled interview for the Assistant

Chief Position, Plaintiff was approached in his Office by Mrs. Prock. During their

conversation, Prock indicated to Plaintiff that it was her and Pedersons desire to bring in

newer employees and that as a result, Plaintiffs employment with the Defendant

Myrtle Beach Police Department would be ending. Prock also retorted to Plaintiff during

this conversation that there was no need to interview for the Assistant Chief of Police

position because his interview was null and void.

20. As Prock was the Chief of the Department and a part of the interview panel for the

Assistant Chief position, Plaintiff was effectively prohibited from participating in his

scheduled interview. Defendants actions in doing such violated Plaintiffs contractual

rights pursuant to Defendants employment handbook and other contractual policies and

procedures provided to Plaintiff by Defendant.


ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2017 Sep 14 1:45 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2017CP2605913
21. During their conversation, Prock told Plaintiff that his services were no longer needed (in

short, you are fired), and directed Plaintiff to contact Kegler regarding his termination.

Plaintiff did as directed and Kegler came to Plaintiffs Office on that morning. Upon

arriving at Plaintiffs Office, Kegler attempted to require Plaintiff to sign paperwork

related to his termination from employment indicating that Plaintiffs employment would

end on or about July 31, 2017, which Plaintiff refused to sign.

22. On or around the morning of July 17, 2017, Plaintiff again spoke with Kegler, at which

time he informed Kegler that Defendants actions constituted age based discrimination.

Kegler retorted that she would bring the matter to the attention of her superiors.

23. Shortly after his conversation with Kegler, Plaintiff was informed via email that

Plaintiffs registration for a previously scheduled City Sponsored event in Washington,

DC, for which Plaintiff was scheduled to attend on or around July 28, 2017, had been

cancelled. Plaintiff immediately called Kegler back and informed Plaintiff that the

Defendants actions in cancelling the event was retaliation for his complaints of age

based discrimination earlier that day. Kegler responded by indicating that she would look

into the matter but that the City Attorney, the City Manager, Chief Prock, and herself

knew about it, but they had been advised not to talk to Plaintiff any further. This was a

pretext as Plaintiffs Complaint was never addressed.

24. On July 18, 2017, Plaintiff was called to meet with Pederson at Pedersons Office. Upon

arriving at the Office of the City Manager, Plaintiff met with Pederson who indicated to

Plaintiff that his (Plaintiffs) final day of employment would be July 31, 2017 and that he

(Pederson) could not have Plaintiff stirring up any trouble. Plaintiff responded by

indicating that he never stirred up any trouble within the Department. During this
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meeting, Plaintiff questioned Pederson regarding the loss of his accrued comp time.

Pederson responded by stating that Plaintiff could use his comp time until his termination

on July 31, 2017.

25. Later that day, while attending a Department Approved meeting in Columbia, Plaintiff

realized that he was unable to access his Department email. The following day, July 19,

2017, Plaintiff was informed by Captain Marty Brown that he was locked out of all

Department systems to include Department email, intranet system, and the Department

Building and that if Plaintiff needed to finish cleaning out his office he could contact him

(Brown) to gain access to the building for such purposes. In effect, Plaintiff was

terminated on July 19, 2017.

26. After cleaning out his Office, Plaintiff remained out of work on Comp time (as

authorized by the City Manager) until his official July 31, 2017 termination from

employment.

27. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff was subsequently replaced by Joseph Crosby who

is the boyfriend of Amy Kegler. Plaintiff is aware that Defendants Kegler, Pederson,

and Prock conspired and took affirmative steps to terminate Plaintiff in an effort to ensure

that Joseph Crosby received his job despite the fact that Crosby is less qualified than

Plaintiff and does not possess a college degree. Defendants actions have resulted in

Plaintiffs termination from employment and Plaintiff incurring great physical and

emotional distress.

28. Due to Plaintiffs unlawful termination from employment, Plaintiff timely filed an

internal grievance in accordance with Defendants policies and procedures. Despite

having fully complied with the Grievance Policies as outlined by the Defendant, the
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2017 Sep 14 1:45 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2017CP2605913
Defendant City of Myrtle Beach Police Department failed to timely provide Plaintiff with

a Grievance Hearing. Defendants actions constitute a further breach of the contractual

promises guaranteed to Plaintiff by Defendant City of Myrtle Beach Police Department.

29. As a result of Plaintiffs termination from employment, the denial of his right to compete

for promotions which he was qualified to receive, and the denial of Plaintiffs right to a

Grievance Hearing, Plaintiff has been devastated both emotionally and financially.

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION AS TO DEFENDANT CITY OF MYRTLE BEACH


(Breach of Contract)

30. Plaintiff reasserts and realleges the facts and matters contained in the paragraphs above as

fully as if restated herein verbatim.

31. At all times the Defendant maintained an employment handbook, position descriptions,

and policies and procedures, which were provided to Plaintiff and which proscribe a

stepwise promotion process and assurances that employees are encouraged to apply for

vacancies which they are eligible to receive. Defendant also maintained policies which

prohibit harassing behavior, unlawful retaliation due to protected complaints, and age

based discrimination, and which guaranteed Plaintiff the right to a Grievance Hearing.

32. Plaintiff believed in and relied upon the assurances of Defendant that such procedures

would be complied with and such documents form Plaintiffs employment contract

proscribing specifically how Plaintiff would be treated in accordance with the policies

and procedures.

33. Defendant violated its policies and procedures and contractual promises with Plaintiff by

blatantly disregarding its policies and procedures, to include, its Promotional Policies

and its policies prohibiting retaliation and harassing behavior to include harassment based

on age. Specifically, Defendant pretextually prevented Plaintiff from applying and being
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considered for promotion, terminated Plaintiffs employment in violation of such policies

and procedures and contractual promises afforded to Plaintiff and denied Plaintiff a

Grievance Hearing in violation of the contractual promises which guaranteed Plaintiff the

right to a Grievance Hearing.

34. Defendants conduct, by and through its agents, was reckless and was done in bad faith

and breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings that is implied in the

employment contract.

35. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants breach of contract, Plaintiff has suffered

actual damages due to the failure of Defendant to follow its own policies and procedures

upon which Plaintiff relied as indicated above and as set out in Defendants policies and

procedures.

36. That upon information and belief, Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment for actual damages

and punitive damages against Defendant on account thereof.

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION AS TO DEFENDANT CITY OF MYRTLE BEACH


(Breach of Contract with Fraudulent Intent)

37. Plaintiff reasserts and realleges the facts and matters contained in the paragraphs above as

fully as if restated herein verbatim.

38. At all times the Defendant maintained an employment handbook, position descriptions,

and policies and procedures, which were provided to Plaintiff and which proscribe a

stepwise promotion process and assurances that employees are encouraged to apply for

vacancies which they are eligible to receive. Defendant also maintained policies which

prohibit harassing behavior, unlawful retaliation due to protected complaints, and age

based discrimination and which guaranteed Plaintiff the right to a Grievance Hearing.
ELECTRONICALLY FILED - 2017 Sep 14 1:45 PM - HORRY - COMMON PLEAS - CASE#2017CP2605913
39. Plaintiff believed in and relied upon the assurances of Defendant that such procedures

would be complied with and such documents form Plaintiffs employment contract

proscribing specifically how Plaintiff would be treated in accordance with the policies

and procedures.

40. Defendant violated its policies and procedures and contractual promises with Plaintiff by

blatantly disregarding its policies and procedures, to include, its Promotional Policies

and its policies prohibiting retaliation and harassing behavior to include harassment based

on age. Specifically, Defendant pretextually prevented Plaintiff from applying and being

considered for promotion, terminated Plaintiffs employment in violation of such policies

and procedures and contractual promises afforded to Plaintiff, and denied Plaintiff a

Grievance Hearing in violation of Defendants contractual promises which guaranteed

Plaintiff the right to a Grievance Hearing.

41. Defendants conduct, by and through its agents, was reckless, intentional, fraudulent, and

was done in bad faith and breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings

that is implied in the employment contract.

42. In fact, Defendants have failed to fulfill their obligations under the parties employment

contract and have breached the terms thereof by reason of an intentional design on their

part to defraud Plaintiff of his employment and his contractual right to apply for eligible

promotions, and to deprive him of a Grievance Hearing.

43. Defendant, by and through its agents, employees, and officers, purposefully and

deliberately deceived Plaintiff and harassed and retaliated against Plaintiff by terminating

his employment in violation of Plaintiffs contract due to both his age and in retaliation

for his protected complaints in violation of Defendants own contractual promises and
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procedures, and by prohibiting Plaintiff from being considered for eligible promotions.

These actions by Defendant were intentionally designed to violate the terms and

conditions of Plaintiffs employment contract and Defendants own policies and

procedures prohibiting such conduct upon which Plaintiff relied.

44. Defendants, in furtherance of such intentional design, committed the following fraudulent

acts: Defendant fabricated false and pretextual allegations to justify terminating

Plaintiffs employment knowing such reasons were fraudulent and untrue and by denying

Plaintiff a right to be considered for promotion. Therefore, Defendant sought out and

fraudulently breached the agreement between Plaintiff and Defendants by deliberately

refusing to follow their own policies and procedures.

45. Plaintiff has been maligned.

46. Defendant acted in a malicious, deliberate, intentional way, and with a deliberate

indifference to the rights of Plaintiff.

47. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants breach of contract with fraudulent intent,

Plaintiff has suffered actual damages due to the failure of Defendant to follow its own

policies and procedures upon which Plaintiff relied as indicated above and as set out in

Defendants policies and procedures and employment handbook.

48. Therefore, upon information and belief, Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment for actual and

punitive damages against Defendant on account thereof.

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION AS TO DEFENDANTS AMY PROCK, ANGELA


KEGLER, AND JOHN PEDERSON (In their Individual Capacities)
(Civil Conspiracy)

49. Plaintiff reasserts and realleges the facts and matters contained in paragraphs above as

fully as if restated herein verbatim.


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50. Defendants, specifically Amy Prock, Angela Kegler, and John Pederson, participated in

common design acting through concerted actions to block Plaintiff from being promoted

in complete disregard of his contractual rights pursuant to the City of Myrtle Beaches

policies and procedures. Such actions were done deliberately and with the intent to

damage Plaintiffs career.

51. Defendants Amy Prock, Angela Kegler, and John Pederson, each did the acts and things

herein alleged pursuant to, and in furtherance of, the conspiracy and above alleged

agreement.

52. Defendants Amy Prock, Angela Kegler, and John Pederson, furthered the conspiracy by

cooperation with each other and provided aid and encouragement to each other or ratified

and adopted the acts of each other, in that they agreed to deprive Plaintiff of a meaningful

opportunity to compete and be selected for promotion and in violation of his contractual

rights pursuant to the City of Myrtle Beaches policies and procedures. In addition,

Defendants conspired to have Plaintiff terminated and to deny Plaintiff a Grievance

Hearing so that Keglers less qualified boyfriend could be hired into Plaintiffs position.

53. That Defendants Amy Prock, Angela Kegler, and John Pederson actively attempted to

prevent Plaintiff from being promoted and to terminate Plaintiff by consulting with and

acting in concert with each other.

54. As a proximate result of the wrongful acts of Defendants herein alleged, Plaintiff has

suffered a loss of earning capacity and the loss of his job.

55. Defendants civil conspiracy herein alleged has caused, continues to cause, and will cause

Plaintiff to suffer special damages and substantial damages for pecuniary losses,
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embarrassment, humiliation, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of

life, and other non-pecuniary losses.

56. Plaintiff is entitled to injunctive relief and/or civil damages from Defendants Amy Prock,

Angela Kegler, and John Pederson as a result of the civil conspiracy as alleged above.

57. Due to the acts of Defendants Plaintiff is entitled to injunctive relief and/or civil

damages, back pay, and front pay.

58. As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants Civil Conspiracy, Plaintiff has

suffered a loss of the opportunity to be promoted and suffered the loss of his job resulting

in diminished earning capacity, diminished benefits, and diminished retirement.

Therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment for actual and punitive damages against

Defendants on account thereof.

JURY TRIAL REQUEST

59. Plaintiff requests a jury trial.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff prays that this Honorable Court declare that the Defendants

actions complained of herein violated the rights guaranteed to the Plaintiff and issues its

judgment:

(1) Declaring the actions complained of herein illegal;

(2) In favor of the Plaintiff and against Defendants for the cause of action in an

amount which is fair, just and reasonable, and for actual and compensatory damages.

(3) Granting an injunction enjoining the Defendant, its agents, employees, successors,

attorneys, and those acting in concert or participation with the Defendants, and at their
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direction from engaging in the unlawful practices set forth herein and any other unlawful

employment practices.

(4) Awarding Plaintiff actual compensatory damages for the cause of action

contained herein, which the jury should find appropriate as a result of the Defendants

breach of contract, breach of contract with fraudulent intent, and civil conspiracy;

including mental anguish, pain and suffering, harm to Plaintiffs economic opportunities,

any back pay, front pay, travel hardships and travel expenses, and future earnings with

cost of living adjustments, prejudgment interest, fringe benefits, and retirement benefits,

reinstatement to his employment, and awarding punitive and special damages with

respect to Plaintiffs civil conspiracy causes of action against the individual Defendants;

(5) Awarding Plaintiff his costs and expenses in this action, including reasonable

attorney fees, and other litigation expenses; and

(6) Granting such other costs and further relief as may be just and necessary to afford

complete relief to the Plaintiff as this Court may deem just and proper.

Respectfully Submitted:

s/Donald Gist___________
Donald Gist, Esquire
Aaron Wallace, Esquire
Lonnesse Williams, Esquire
GIST LAW FIRM, P.A.
4400 North Main Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29203
Tel. (803) 771-8007
Fax (803) 771-0063
Columbia, SC aaronwallace.gistlawfirm@gmail.com
September 14, 2017 dtommygist@yahoo.com
Attorneys for Plaintiff