Clifton, TN City Finance Officer Sues City Manager of Waynesboro, TN for Sexual Assault

Jun 16, 2020

Rocky McElhaney
Law Firm

Nashville, TN (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2020 – Rocky McElhaney Law Firm filed a claim of sexual assault on behalf of its client, Mrs. Kiersten Rainey, City Finance Officer for the City of Clifton, TN, against John E. Hickman, City Manager for Waynesboro, TN. The claim was filed on June 12, 2020 in the 5th Circuit Court, docket number 20-C-1295. The alleged assault occurred on September 11, 2019 during a Tennessee Energy Conference held at Nashville’s Renaissance Hotel. The incident occurred in a hospitality room associated with the conference during a card game among a group of city employees. According to Mrs. Rainey, Mr. Hickman, who was seated next to her during the game, slid his hand up her thigh and began to sexually grope her against her will. The lawsuit filed by Rocky McElhaney Law Firm names both Hickman personally and the City of Waynesboro, TN, as Hickman was working in his official capacity while attending the conference.

Details of the Case
In September of 2019, Mrs. Rainey and her colleagues, other employees of the City Government of Clifton, TN, traveled to Nashville for a Tennessee Energy Conference. Like most attendees of industry conferences, their goals were to expand their industry knowledge and insights through conference sessions and networking with other government professionals. Mr. Hickman also attended the conference in his role of City Manager of Waynesboro, TN. On the evening of September 11, 2019, several conference attendees gathered in the hospitality room provided by conference organizers. A group of those present decided to play cards. Mrs. Rainey was a member of this group and was seated beside Mr. Hickman at the table.

According to Mrs. Rainey and the other members of the party, during the course of the game, Mr. Hickman dropped some poker chips on the floor next to Mrs. Rainey and bent to pick them up. Mrs. Rainey alleges that it was at this point that Mr. Hickman reached between her legs and began touching her forcefully without permission.

According to witness statements, Mrs. Rainey shot to her feet and left the table and the room visibly upset and shocked. Mrs. Rainey reported the incident to the police the following day.

Mrs. Rainey continues to struggle with the impact of the alleged sexual violation and from the thought that other women might suffer the same experience in future at the hands of Mr. Hickman.

Holding the city liable
Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has filed suit against Hickman and has gone a step further by also holding the City of Waynesboro accountable for the actions of their employee. Because Hickman was engaged in the scope of his employment during the alleged assault, the City of Waynesboro is liable for his acts under the law.

Both the City and Hickman owe the Plaintiff, Mrs. Rainey, a duty of care not to harm others, and should the allegations be proved true, both the City and Hickman will have failed in that duty. The City will also have further breached that duty of care by continuing to employ Hickman after the allegations of sexual assault surfaced, putting the public and other City employees at risk.

As Attorney McElhaney points out, “We intend to hold the city responsible for negligent supervision, retention, training, and general negligence for sending Hickman to an out-of-county event where he could have the opportunity to prey on unsuspecting women.”

About the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm
Rocky McElhaney Law Firm is an award-winning Personal Injury Law firm with locations in downtown Nashville, East Nashville, Hendersonville, Clarksville, and Knoxville. Established in Nashville in 2002, Rocky’s firm quickly earned a reputation for the integrity of its work and for Rocky’s fierce determination to face off against even the biggest insurance companies in his fights to gain justice for his clients.

Known in Nashville as “Gladiators in Suits,” the attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are compassionate and dedicated fighters who devote their time and skills to helping victims of serious injuries forced to fight for their right to justice.

Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has earned industry recognition and numerous awards for its track record of successful cases, landmark verdicts, high ethical standards, and focus on building strong client relationships. Among its many honors, the firm has, for the past five years, been voted Best Lawyer by Nashville Scene Magazine readers, and earned a place in Best of the Bar, National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The firm maintains an A++ rating with the Tennessee Better Business Bureau and is six-time winner of Nashville Business Journal’s Best Places to Work.

To learn more, visit or follow the firm on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.