Originally created 02/13/98

Ex-trooper sues four, claims they spread lies



COLUMBIA -- Interim Public Safety Department Director James Caulder spread lies about a former trooper, forcing him to resign, according to a $2 million lawsuit filed in Newberry County.

Larry Summer on Wednesday sued Mr. Caulder and three female troopers in Circuit Court for defamation of character. The suit says the women accused Mr. Summer of sexual harassment; he denies the charges.

Public Safety spokeswoman Sue Sadik said the department was unaware of the lawsuit and could not comment.

The suit claims Mr. Caulder knew the allegations against Mr. Summer were false but demanded he be demoted or take early retirement.

"Motivated by actual malice and acting in bad faith to pacify and appease others ... (Mr. Caulder) made statements to a large group of Highway patrolmen that (Mr. Summer) was guilty of sex discrimination and sexual harassment and that his resignation was an admission of such fact," the suit says.

Mr. Summer said Troopers Sally Farmer, Lisa Lindler and Elizabeth Clark falsely accused him of sexual harassment "based on personal hatred."

Mr. Summer is seeking $2 million in damages for loss of reputation and earnings, and pain, suffering and emotional distress.

His lawyer, J. Lewis Cromer, said age and sex discrimination charges will likely be filed against the department.

Gov. David Beasley nominated Mr. Caulder as permanent department director Feb. 5 after the Senate rejected Eddie Gunn, who had held the interim position since July 1996.