Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Whistling in the High Desert - Worth $4.75 Million


In the town of Prescott, self described as "only 90 miles, but a world away, from metropolitan Phoenix," the county seat of Maricopa County -- a former Maricopa County employee was awarded $4.75 million under the Arizona Employment Protection Act. The verdict came after just 3 hours of deliberation to conclude a 2 week trial.

The complaint of Michael Walters, an environmental analyst, as reported in the Arizona Republic:
[He] discovered in 1996 that county administrators used fictional liability figures in reports submitted to bond underwriters and others [and] was fired after informing Deborah Larson, the chief financial officer, of the mistake and threatening exposure unless the mistake was corrected.
Although the County initially claimed he was terminated for different reasons, including pornography found on his computer, it didn't pursue that argument at trial.

According to Walters, "After nine years of sleepless nights, I'm going to get my first good night's sleep. The truth came out." My guess is that the same was not true for the folks from the County, particularly if as the Tuscon Citizen reported, the County's insurance policy has a $5 million deductible.

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