Man found dead in home had $4.8M lawsuit filed against Sullivan County

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - A Sullivan County man at the center of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation case was no stranger to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

TBI identified the man found dead on Woods Road as 71-year-old Herman Rumley. Court documents reveal, Rumley had filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the county and members of the sheriff's office.

Word spread quickly on Friday after the 71-year-old Rumley was found dead inside his home on Woods Road in Bluff City. Bud Maines one of many in the community shocked to hear that his longtime friend had died.

"I'll miss him very much," Maines said. 

Bud reflected on happier times. He says years ago he and Rumley would attend church together. 

"Several families from the church would go on vacation together and Herman and Francis were with us and he was just like one of the family, we really had a good time going on vacation together," Rumley said. 

Rumley was found dead inside his home on Friday morning, coincidentally an answer in the lawsuit that he had filed against the Sullivan County Sheriff's office, had also been filed.

According to court documents Rumley was suing  Sullivan County, Sheriff Wayne Anderson and three deputies for $4.8 million.

That lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred at Rumley's home in May 2017. The suit alleges Rumley was assaulted by deputies at his home.

According to the suit one of the deputies reportedly slammed Rumley to the ground and kicked him repeatedly.

That answer in the lawsuit submitted by Sullivan County Attorney Dan Street suggests that the complaints against individuals be dismissed as they are county employees and the county is already named in the suit. 

We reached out to the sheriff's office about that pending lawsuit and this death investigation and received a statement that says:

"Due to the pending suit filed against the sheriff's office by Mr. Rumley, the Sullivan County Sheriff's office requested the TBI to investigate the incident." 

For the time being it remains unclear what will happen with this pending lawsuit. 

Family members did not want to speak on camera with us today but say Rumley will be missed by people in the community and the many lives he touched. 

News Channel 11 reached out to District Attorney General Barry Staubus. He says Rumley's body has been sent for an autopsy and the case is still under investigation. 



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