LA Contractor Wins $20M Suit Against State Highway Dept.

MONROE, LA (AP) — A former Mangham contractor won a $20 million suit he filed against the state Department of Transportation and Development over a 2007 incident he says cost him his business because he refused to pay a bribe to a state official.

         Jeff Mercer said he filed the suit over actions that caused his business to be shuttered.

         Mercer's attorney David Doughty told The News-Star the $20 million accounts for lost future income and is in line with the profits Mercer's company was making at the time.

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         A Monroe jury ruled Friday unanimously in Mercer's favor.

         Mercer said in his lawsuit that Willis Jenkins, a DOTD inspector, demanded a bribe.

         Doughty said Jenkins admitted he made the comment, but said it was a joke and the DOTD never investigated it.

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