The attorney for former Hutto City Manager Odis Jones told Community Impact he never asked only for nominal damages of $1 in the federal racial discrimination case where a jury awarded Jones $12.5 million for breach of contract and damages.

According to Holt Major Lackey, founding partner of Holt Major Lackey, PLLC in Austin, the ask for only $1 in damages never came from him.

“That is false,” Lackey said in an interview March 5, explaining they sought a minimum of $1 in damages.

In the city’s press release response to the verdict and award of $4.5 million for breach of contract and $8 million damages to Jones, city of Hutto litigation attorney George Hyde said the city will fight the decision.

While the March 3 press release from the city said Hutto will ask the trial court to reverse the jury’s decision and “if the court somehow decides some new evidence exists to support a finding of liability, the city will ask the judge to reduce the award to [$1].”

The lawsuit came after the city in December 2020 demanded the return of $412,000 paid as a separation agreement for Jones, who was the Hutto city manager for three years.

When asked about the city’s strategy and the keys to the jury verdict to award Jones, Lackey said “we intend to litigate in front of the court and not in the press.

“We will answer any appeals or post-verdict motions in court,” he said.

Lackey said opportunities to negotiate a settlement came along before the verdict.

“We were open to settlement negotiations throughout the process,” he said. “They were never engaged in those conversations.”

Jones declined to comment on the case when asked by Community Impact on March 4.