Aycock tosses Nowlin lawsuit over damages

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ecru insurance agent Ken Nowlin’s lawsuit against Lafayette County officials was dismissed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Judge Sharion Aycock granted multiple motions to dismiss the lawsuit – from defendants the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Johnny Morgan and Ashland attorney Tony Farese.
However, her dismissal comes with the caveat that it’s dismissed until Nowlin’s convictions are overturned.
Aycock’s decision came on legal precedent, which requires that to recover damages from wrongful conviction or imprisonment, a plaintiff must prove his conviction or sentence has been reversed.
Nowlin’s conviction and sentence are valid in the court’s eyes, she said.
Last May, Nowlin sued for damages, saying he was the victim of a conspiracy to get him out of the way so that Morgan could take over Nowlin’s dominance in the region’s municipal and county insurance business.
He also claimed this plot motivated a federal indictment against him and former Supervisor Gary Massey. Both men went to jail on guilty pleas in a criminal case about insurance fees and alleged kickbacks.
The lawsuit contended he was innocent and deprived of his liberty and property rights.
Farese was accused of pressuring Nowlin to accept a guilty plea and not take Nowlin’s case to trial.
“We have always been confident that the complaint against me by Mr. Nowlin was completely without merit,” Farese said Wednesday.
He noted that the court pleadings in the criminal case show that Nowlin failed an FBI polygraph test, then testified under oath before a federal grand jury admitting his guilt, pleaded guilty under oath before a federal judge and admitted his guilt under oath before the sentencing judge.
“I am pleased by the Court’s ruling dismissing the complaint,” Farese added.
In his lawsuit complaint, Nowlin alleged that he was not well and didn’t know what he was doing in court proceedings.
John Hooks, an attorney with Adams amp& Reese in Jackson, which represented Morgan in the lawsuit, also said he is “pleased” with the dismissal.
“The claims were completely without merit and frivolous,” he added.
Nowlin’s attorney, Cynthia Stewart of Madison, could not be reached for comment.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.