Madison County Engineer Rudy Warnock sued Canton Municipal Utilities for $6.3 million in U.S. District Court on March 9. Mr. Warnock claims that CMU breached three contracts it entered into with him in 2016. CMU hired Mr. Warnock as its sole engineer in August but terminated him a few months later.
The complaint states that CMU and Warnock Engineering entered into several agreements: water & sewer system improvements (November 8, 2016), General Engineering Services (January 4, 2016), and water & sewer system facility improvements (October 7, 2016). He alleges the cost of the contracts to be $6.3 million.
However, the CMU board underwent some reshuffling and the new powers on the board decided to terminate Mr. Warnock's relationship with the board. CMU attorney Barbara Blackmon sent two letters to Mr. Warnock last December and January that ordered him to cease all work on behalf of CMU. The December 29 letter stated:
Pursuant to the action of the Canton Municipal Utilities (CMU) Commission terminating its contract of Warnock and Associates, LLC, and at the request of the General Manager, Kenneth W. Jones, you are hereby given notice to cease and desist from performing any work whatsoever for or on behalf of the Canton Municipal Utilities Commission.However, this is Rudy Warnock, who is not going to lie down just because an attorney says "boo!". He fired back at CMU through his attorney Dorsey Carson in a January 31 letter. Mr. Carson stated:
Our law firm has been retained by Warnock Engineering, LLC to collect from CMU the entire balance that CMU owes Warnock on an open account, which, as of January 31, 2017, was $6,329,974.87. Enclosed is the itemized statement of CMU's open account.
Mr. Carson also asked for interest and attorney's fees for his client. The Blackmons wasted no time in responding to CMU's now-former engineer. Ed Blackmon shot back at Mr. Warnock with his own letter demanding all documentation for work allegedly performed by Warnock & Associates. The demand included drawings, diagrams, plans, invoices, and a description of all work performed. Thus Mr. Warnock answered the demand with his lawsuit.
Remember that copyright infringement that Mr. Warnock used successfully against the Madison County Board of Supervisors to win over half a million dollars? That tactic appears again in this lawsuit:
18. CMU has no license or other right to use Warnock Engineering's copyrights, work product, or other intellectual property unless and until all outstanding amounts are paid by CMU, including but not limited to work provided for engineering designs, drawings, plans, specifications, and other copyrighted work, and for amounts due from the date of termination.The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden. The lawsuit and letters are posted below.
Kingfish note: Sarah Fowler to rip off in 3...2...1....
Hmmm...... The Warnock on one side, the Blackmons on the other..... sounds like A Fistful of Dollars.