By Stan Welch
The Town of Williamston’s lengthy legal battle with former town administrator Phyllis Lollis recently came to an end, with the Town’s insurance providers choosing to make a settlement offer of twelve thousand five hundred dollars, which Lollis accepted.
Lollis was terminated shortly after Mayor Mack Durham took office. She filed suit after the town council, under Durham, defunded the position.Lollis alleged sexism and age discrimination in her lawsuit.
According to an e-mail received from the Town’s attorneys a little over a week ago, the Town had a strong case, but the insurance provider saw the decision to offer a settlement as the easier, least expensive route. Understandably, and ultimately inconsequentially, the attorneys disagreed, as can be seen by this excerpt from the e-mail informing the mayor of the result.
“Today, the Town’s insurance company opted to settle the lawsuit with Phyllis Lollis for $12,500.00. This settlement was made to avoid the cost of going to trial – it had nothing to do with the merits of Mrs. Lollis’s claims. We believe the evidence would have led a jury to enter a verdict in favor of the Town and the mayor. Ultimately, it is the insurance company’s decision whether to pay for trial or settle the case.”
Mayor Durham, who provided the e-mail to the Journal under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, agreed with the attorneys. “The law firm that represented us did a very good job, and prepared a formidable case for presentation. But as is often the case, the insurance company chose the cheaper approach. Their interest is primarily financial.”