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Fired Deputy Says Lawyers Blew It

DALLAS (CN) - A former sheriff's deputy sued a Dallas law firm, claiming it bungled his reinstatement attempt after criminal charges against him were dropped.

Jay McNeal sued McCathern, Mooty and Grinke in Dallas County Court.

McNeal says the Dallas County Sheriff's Department fired him in 2004 and McCathern, Mooty represented him through its contract with the (nonparty) Texas Municipal Policemen Association.

After criminal mischief charges against him were dropped in August 2010, McNeal claims, McCathern Mooty was obligated to file for an administrative grievance hearing within 30 days to try and get his job back. He says the firm waited 90 days to file the request.

The sheriff's legal advisers recommended denying him a grievance hearing on Dec. 30, 2010.

"As a result of missing the filing deadline for the grievance on behalf of McNeal, the defendants scrambled to revive the case with a series of failed attempts," including three requests that were all rejected by the county Commissioners' Court for being too late, McNeal claims.

McNeal insists the sheriff's Civil Service Commission would have concluded his firing was unlawful had the law firm not missed the deadline.

The law firm, now known as McCathern PLLC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. It has offices in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Newport Beach, Calif.

McNeal seeks actual and punitive damages for legal malpractice.

He is represented by Raul Loya in Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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