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New Documents: Former OES Dispatcher Gets $13K, Lawyers Get Nearly $12K in Suit Settlement
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) - A former Clarion County OES dispatcher received a payment of $13,327.20 and the employee’s law firm, Kraemer Manes & Associates, received $11,672.80 in a settlement/dismissal agreement dated Aug. 15, 2018.
(Photo courtesy Clarion County Department of Public Safety)
ExploreClarion.com obtained a copy of the agreement after filing an open records request with Clarion County. The document was deemed public.
The civil rights suit filed against the Clarion County Office of Emergency Services (OES) was dismissed, and a settlement was reached.
The payment was made through an insurance policy with the Pennsylvania Counties Risk Pool (PCoRP) held by Clarion County. Clarion County also paid $3,441.50 to PCoRP as a deductible reimbursement.
According to the settlement agreement, both parties agreed the settlement “was not an omission or evidence of liability or wrongdoing, and any such liability or wrongdoing is hereby expressly denied by each party to this agreement.”
The claimant agreed “not to make any disparaging or defaming comments, written including, but not limited to electronic posts, tweets, updates, etc. or oral, about the county. The county likewise agreed that it will not make any disparaging or defamatory comments written or oral to any third party about her, and nothing, in this paragraph will preclude her or the county, including its employees, from any good faith response to any inquiries under oath or required by law.”
The county agreed to provide a neutral reference for the claimant upon inquiry by prospective employers. A neutral reference means providing dates of employment and last job held and no additional information.
The suit filed by a former dispatcher employed by Clarion County OES alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act, sexual discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation, has been dismissed with prejudice by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Judge Stewart Cercone issued the order on August 31, 2018, stating “upon consideration of, and pursuant to, the foregoing Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, it is hereby ORDERED that Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-01619-DSC is dismissed in its entirety with prejudice. Each party will bear its own attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.”
According to UALegal.com, a dismissal with prejudice is a dismissal of a case on merits after adjudication. The plaintiff is barred from bringing an action on the same claim. Dismissal with prejudice is a final judgment, and the case becomes res judicata on the claims that were or could have been brought in it.
Res judicata is a Latin term meaning “a thing decided.” It is a common law doctrine meant to prevent relitigation of cases between the same parties regarding the same issues and preserve the binding nature of the court’s decision.
The suit was originally filed October 25, 2016, with the former employee alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act. She started her employment with Clarion County as a dispatcher in 2013 and was terminated from her position on September 23, 2015. She claimed she was terminated shortly after making complaints about the sexual harassment she suffered at work.
Some of the complaints included alleged behavior by a male dispatcher and a male superior.
The woman reportedly complained to supervisors, requested to be reassigned to another shift, and then reported the incidents to the OES Director at the time. The Director was terminated from his position on March 3, 2016.
The report of mediation (neutral) was filed on August 3, 2018, stating the plaintiff and OES held a settlement conference, and the case was resolved.
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