Case Conclusion Date: April 1, 2008
Practice Area: Sexual Harassment
Outcome: $640,000 for Sexual Harassment
Description: A corrections officer sexually harassed a series of county employees through his position at the Whatcom County jail. Each initially thought they were the only victim, but eventually they began to talk to each other, realize that each was not alone, and then held a meeting at the home of one victim. They hired Brett & Coats to bring a sexual harassment claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EECO invited the parties to participate in informal means of conciliation. The employees entered mediation with the county. Five cases settled and two more serious claims required the filing of a lawsuit. After extensive discovery the entire claim was settled for a combined total settlement of $640,000, with individual settlements of $100,000, $100,000, $40,000, $100,000, $25,000, $25,000, and $250,000. The claim is Johnston v Whatcom County, United States District Court, Western District of Washington, at Seattle, cause number CV04-0626RSM. Victims were represented by Breean Beggs and Dean Brett of Bellingham's Brett & Coats.