A class action lawsuit has been filed against Phillips County and the city of Helena-West Helena claiming denial of a prompt first court appearance according to a legal notice submitted to The Helena World. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Phillips County and the city of Helena-West Helena claiming denial of a prompt first court appearance according to a legal notice submitted to The Helena World. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The notice states Gary Covington alleges that the city and county violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide a court appearance within 72 hours of his arrest. It goes on to say that Covington is seeking damages for himself and others who were allegedly denied a prompt first court appearance.

Covington’s incident dates back to June 22, 2009.

The document adds that the city of Helena-West Helena has denied that it violated the Constitution and denies any liability to Covington or any other pre-trail detainees. A trial will be held to determine the city’s possible liability.

If Covington wins the suit, the court will be asked to approve payment of litigation expenses and attorney fees. Luther Sutter of Sutter and Gillham, PLLC, Attorneys at Law of Benton is representing Covington.

The document did not specify the amount of damages being sought in the lawsuit.