A lawsuit filed by fired Charleston airport spokeswoman against her former employer will be expanded to include more defendants and more allegations of wrongdoing.
Judge J.C. Nicholson recently ruled the complaint against Charleston County Airport District by Becky Beaman can be amended to include civil conspiracy and grossly negligent supervision.
The ruling also officially adds two current airport employees — Tammy Alexander and Lori Stover — and the airport’s former deputy director Al Britnell to the complaint.
An Oct. 10 trial date has been set.
Attorney Arnold Goodstein, who has called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “without merit,” said the ruling means the airport will have to provide separate attorneys to each of those added to the lawsuit.
“It’s going to be very expensive,” Goodstein said, adding the legal fees will be paid by the Insurance Reserve Fund.
He and other lawyers hired to defend the airport in the case tried in December to convince the judge not to allow the suit to be amended. Beaman attorney Nancy Bloodgood, said the judge’s ruling bolsters Beaman’s case.
Beaman sued her former employer in January 2015 for defamation and unpaid retirement benefits after being fired in November 2014 over placement of a video camera to catch someone stealing from an office refrigerator. A construction worker turned out to be the culprit.
Beaman denied any involvement in putting up the video camera, but that didn’t stop Charleston County Aviation Authority CEO Paul Campbell from firing the 29-year employee for insubordination.
Last October, Bloodgood filed a motion to amend the original complaint after Stover’s now-former husband Robert Bryant testified in a deposition that Alexander, Stover and Britnell conspired to get Beaman fired so Alexander and Stover could carve up part of Beaman’s $120,000-a-year salary to get raises.
All three have declined to comment about the pending lawsuit. Airport attorneys have 30 days to file a response to the amended complaint.
As for negligent supervision, the suit claims Campbell, a Republican state senator from Goose Creek earning $225,000 a year to lead the Aviation Authority, was often away from the office attending to legislative duties and left the defendants in charge, causing animosity among the ranks.
Goodstein called the claims unfounded and said a faction at the airport is trying to discredit Campbell.
He also said he can prove that Bryant, Beaman’s key witness, is “a liar.”
“We believe whatever they allege is not true,” Goodstein said.
Bryant also is suing the airport district for defamation, saying airport executives bad-mouthed him and ruined his reputation in a December staff meeting at the airport in response to his testimony. That suit, which Goodstein also called “meritless,” is pending as well.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 843 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.