AUSTIN (KXAN) – The City of Hutto said it was in the process of appealing a verdict in a federal lawsuit that granted its former city manager, Odis Jones, a multi-million-dollar award.

According to a release, Jones brought a federal suit against the city over the City Council’s unanimous vote in December 2020 to rescind a severance agreement with Jones for $412,000.

“Thursday’s jury verdict in Austin included a potential award of up to $12.5 million in damages to Jones, who claims Council rescinded his severance payment because he is Black,” the city said.

The City of Hutto’s litigation attorney, George Hyde, said the matter was far from decided.

“We are disappointed in the jury’s erroneous verdict and excessive award,” Hyde said. “There is absolutely no evidence that this case was ever about race. We are actively pursuing all means to get this corrected and cleared.”

The city said it has directed Hyde to seek a court order asking the trial court to reverse the jury’s decision.

According to the city, if the court decides new evidence exists to support a finding of liability, the City would ask the judge to reduce the award to $1.

“Mr. Jones’ lawyer had admitted multiple times in court that Jones had no evidence of damages and was expecting a “nominal damages election” ($1), if liability was even found,” the city said.