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Dennis Milligan Agrees to Mediation in Defamation Lawsuit

2 min read

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and a staff member have agreed to mediation in a defamation lawsuit filed by a fired treasurer’s office employee last month.

At a hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court Tuesday, the attorneys announced they had reached an agreement late Monday night to submit the dispute to mediation.

Former Outreach Manager David Singer filed the lawsuit against Treasurer’s office Chief of Staff Jim Harris personally, rather than in his official capacity as a state employee. Milligan was added to the complaint last week, after the attorney general’s office agreed to represent Harris.

Milligan was not in court Tuesday because of unspecified medical issues. Reached by phone after the hearing, Harris declined to comment on the mediation.

Lucien Gillham, an attorney for Singer, said he hopes the mediation will alleviate damage done to Singer’s reputation.

“I can’t really say what the goal is there. We’re just hoping to address the issues with respect to Mr. Singer’s reputation,” Gillham said after the hearing.

When asked if Singer would ask to be rehired by the treasurer’s office, Gillham said, “That is a possibility, yes.”

Singer was fired from his position in late April, with the explanation that his services would no longer be needed.

At the same time, the treasurer’s office was conducting an internal review of allegations that Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Brady had sent campaign-related emails from his email address at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network- the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society- while volunteering at Milligan’s campaign for treasurer. Several Freedom of Information Act requests filed by news media about the investigation returned emails about Singer and his firing.

The lawsuit alleges that Harris published false statements about Singer’s mental health to co-workers and others, talked about Singer’s wife- who passed away from breast cancer last year- in a “disgusting manner” and made statements accusing Singer of acting inappropriately with female employees.

During the hearing Tuesday, Gillham said he had planned to ask for a “name-clearing hearing,” which he said can be requested when someone is fired in a way that damages their reputation.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast or distributed.)

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