MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A long-running lawsuit between the City of Memphis and 28 Memphis police officers is already costing taxpayers plenty, and could cost more.
On October 31, 2011, City Council Chairman Myron Lowery told abc24.com that city leaders would not appeal the latest judgement, and that it would pay the officers what's due. But two days later, the city filed paperwork that could lay the ground for an appeal.
Attorney David Sullivan represents the police officers who are seeking back pay from the city.
"My clients were pleased that the case seemed to be coming to an end," Sullivan says. "However, Wednesday, November 2, the city filed paperwork with the judge, a pleading that the city intended to appeal, not just one more time, but potentially two more times."
Memphis Police Lt. Chorcie Jones is one of the officers involved in the case.
"It's been extremely frustrating," he says, "my career's being delayed. Councilman Lowery said it would all be brought to an end, there would be no appeals, that they would end the case. It seems to me there's a disconnect between the attorney and council."
The city has not filed an appeal yet, and city attorney Herman Morris hasn't said if it will.
Sullivan believes the latest paperwork is an indication that lawyers for the city will file an appeal.
"You have the dynamic of a public official saying let's move on, then you have the lawyer saying otherwise," Sullivan says. "It's disconnected saying we're not through."
The problem goes back to 2000, when Jones was among 28 Memphis Police officers who felt they should have been promoted, but weren't because they claim the exam wasn't fair.
Sullivan says the court sided with his clients every step of the way.
"It was something that should have been resolved very quickly, there was verifiable cheating that occurred in the test," Sullivan tells abc24.com. "The test should have never been used, promotions should have never gone forward."
The court agreed, even ordering the city to award the officers back pay for the time they would have been sergeants.
The city filed appeal after appeal, costing tax payers plenty of dough.
"There has been an order from the court that the city must pay back pay," says Sullivan, "and the amount is yet to be determined. It is growing every single day."
Sullivan says right now back pay is between $2.5 million and $3.5 million, without the legal costs that have been piling up for the last decade.
If the city does move forward with an appeal, Sullivan says it could be another four years before this case is resolved.
Council chairman Lowery declined an interview, but tells abc24.com he was surprised and disappointed to hear about the paperwork.
In March 2010, the court ordered the officers be awarded lieutenant status.