By BRUCE COLLIER
A 2016 federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination filed against City Marshal Mark Weeks and Capt. Michael Lolley by former DeFuniak Springs Police Capt. David Krika was recently settled. The settlement was made by the city’s insurer, the Florida League of Cities (FLC). The FLC claim amount accepted in settlement was $200,000 (for “injury”), with an additional $98,669.79 for “expense/legal.”
The lawsuit originally included the city of DeFuniak Springs as a co-defendant, but U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson dismissed the city as a co-defendant, leaving only Weeks and Lolley.
The lawsuit alleged that Krika’s employment had been wrongfully terminated after he furnished the FBI with information he had gathered about possible illegal activity by a candidate for city manager, and for continuing to communicate with a federal agent after being ordered to cease.
Following the settlement, DFS City Manager Mell Smigielski sent an email to the mayor, members of the city council, and other employees, along with Weeks and Lolley:
“Many of you have heard the Krika case has been settled. The Krika case against the City, as you may know, was dismissed. But the individual case against Chief Weeks and Captain Lolley continued. Our insurance company did represent both individuals and agreed to a settlement without conferring with the city. As you can see below, the settlement was for $200,000.00 with an additional incurred legal expense of $98,669.79. So the million dollar question is if the settlement will have an effect on our insurance premiums in the coming year or two. If you read further below, an e-mail from Clayton [Adkinson] and from Mr. Conley is copied and pasted for your review. In essence, our premiums will likely go up as a result of the settlement.”
The Conley email above referenced was sent by FLC Account Executive Tom Conley to City Attorney Clayton Adkinson. It reads:
“Hi Clayton, I got an email that you were curious how much a recent settlement might affect the city’s premium. It’s impossible to put a specific number on it. However, there is a factor in the premium calculation that reflects claims activity. And yes, the premium will most likely go up because that settlement will drive up the total claims $ paid, which in turn drives up that factor. The rating system also has a capping mechanism to prevent an increase from being too large. Rather, it spreads out the resulting increase over two or three years.”
Adkinson forwarded Conley’s email to Smigielski, who passed it on to the mayor and city council.