Fired Chatham Area Transit CEO drops lawsuit over controversial termination earlier this year

Fired Chatham Area Transit CEO drops lawsuit over controversial termination earlier this year

Bacarra Mauldin was abruptly fired by the CAT board in January without cause and filed a lawsuit the next month.
November 18, 2021

By Katie Nussbaum, Savannah Morning News

Nine months after filing suit against Chatham Area Transit (CAT), former CEO Bacarra Mauldin has voluntarily dismissed her case against the agency and a current board member. The move ends Mauldin's efforts at reinstatement as well as her seeking compensation for damages.

Mauldin's order to dismiss the case was filed Nov. 15 and came a month after CAT attorney John D. Bennett filed a motion for partial summary judgment. His filing stated that Mauldin failed to establish any material breach of her employment agreement and requested that the court dismiss the claims.

There was no settlement between the parties, according Bennett. The Savannah Morning News reached out to Mauldin's attorney Edward Buckley on Tuesday. Mauldin hasn't responded to requests for comment.

Mauldin was abruptly fired by the CAT board in January without cause and filed a lawsuit the next month.

The suit, which was filed in Chatham County Superior Court by Edward Buckley of the Buckley Beal firm, alleged that Mauldin's firing was unlawful and retaliatory and violated the Georgia Whistleblower Protection Act.

The initial suit also named board member Tabitha Odell, who was dismissed this week along with the CAT authority. Each party will be responsible for their own legal fees, according to the dismissal.

Odell, who was appointed to the board by the Chatham County Commission, had not been properly appointed to the board when she voted to terminate Mauldin's contract.

The parties had a court hearing shortly after the lawsuit was filed with Mauldin seeking to be reinstated to her position along with back pay, benefits of employment and compensatory damages under the Georgia Whistleblower's Act, attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation through a preliminary injunction.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Lisa Colbert later denied Mauldin's request for an injunction.

The CAT board approved a $34,500 contract with Florida-based recruiting firm Colin Baenziger & Associates in late July and the official recruitment process was slated to begin in late August and take up to 90 days.

Katie Nussbaum is the city and county government reporter for the Savannah Morning News. Contact her at knussbaum@savannahnow.com. Twitter: KnussSMN

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