OTTUMWA — A former police officer has resolved his suit against the city and Police Chief Tom McAndrew.

Mark Milligan filed the suit in August 2018, one of several proceedings that followed his dismissal from the department. His attorney filed a brief statement Wednesday saying Milligan “dismisses all of his claims and causes of action in the above-entitled matter, with prejudice.”

The last two words are important. Cases dismissed with prejudice means they cannot be re-filed at a later date.

While that was the only case in the Iowa courts database to show a recent resolution, Milligan said it wasn’t the only one. He said by email Thursday he “was offered and reached a settlement on two of the four lawsuits … The slander lawsuit directed at Chief McAndrew and the civil liberties suit regarding the make up of the civil service commission.”

Two years ago, in August 2017, the state’s Employment Appeals Board sided with Milligan in his claim for unemployment benefits. Milligan was fired after McAndrew concluded he was not truthful about events involving officers under Milligan’s supervision and a juvenile.

Judge Randy DeGeest ruled in Milligan’s favor in November 2017, ordering the city to release records from the RedSpeed camera vehicle the city was using at the time. The city claimed those records were confidential under both state and federal laws. DeGeest ordered the release of the records and that the city pay Milligan’s legal costs as allowed under the Iowa Open Records Act.

In August 2018, Judge Shawn Showers ordered Milligan’s reinstatement, ruling that the investigation into Milligan’s actions was “harsh AND arbitrary.” But Showers also found there was insufficient evidence to support Milligan’s claim the city illegally stacked the membership of the city’s civil service commission to ensure it ruled against him.

The cases being settled aren’t just in state court. A federal lawsuit dating to 2016 was also settled. That file includes an entry signed by both sides saying that “all issues … have now been fully resolved by the parties.” As with the state suit, this one was dismissed with prejudice. That entry was filed Wednesday, though the signatures are dated June 17.

Neither the state nor federal court entries included terms of the settlement.


Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.