Greenwood attorney Lee Abraham Jr. no longer is one of the defendants in a lawsuit leveled against him and three Mississippi Valley State University officials by Troy Brown.
Abraham learned Wednesday that he had been dropped from the suit by order of Judge Neal Biggers.
Brown, now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate and a former Mississippi Valley State University administrator, named Abraham in the lawsuit alleging wrongful termination. Before his current campaign, Brown ran for lieutenant governor.
Brown, who lost his job as dean of students at MVSU, claimed his termination resulted from his refusal to withdraw from the race for lieutenant governor. Brown finished a distant third in the Democratic primary.
He sued university President Dr. Lester Newman, Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Rolle and Abraham over his dismissal.
He claims in his lawsuit that Newman, Rolle and Abraham tried to pressure him to drop out of the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. When he refused, Brown alleges, Newman retaliated by firing him.
Brown had been dean of students at MVSU since 1996. He was told in April 1999 that he was being fired.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Greenville.
Biggers ruled that Brown had used only "broad, vague language" to claim Abraham had violated his civil rights. It was alleged only that Abraham and Newman had discussed Brown's campaigning on university time - and that does not indicate conspiracy, the judge said.
"I think the judge followed the law and acted accordingly. I'm pleased with the decision," Abraham said.
Brown said in a statement that he plans to carry on with the suit "as far as the law allows us to take it." The lawsuit asks that Brown, who remains unemployed, be reinstated in the job at Mississippi Valley State. It also seeks an unspecified amount of actual and punitive damages against the remaining defendants.
Brown said, "Judge Biggers' ruling does not deter us in our efforts to seek justice. My attorneys and I are confident that given the opportunity to depose or question the parties involved, the truth will be revealed … This is round one and, by the grace of God, I'm prepared to go the distance."