County drops appeal; Moore gets check
Anne Moore’s wrongful termination suit against Nevada County ended Friday the way it began several months ago.
The former public defender said she was punished for being a whistle-blower, and the county claimed no wrongdoing.
But closure came with Moore getting a check from the county for $250,931.78, including interest and court costs, after the Board of Supervisors decided not to appeal Moore’s trial victory last fall.
It also ended with an exchange of faxes, beginning with Deputy County Counsel Edward Kiernan’s, which said: “While I felt there were very strong grounds for appeal and that with a different judge and better luck regarding the jury’s composition, we stood a better chance of obtaining a defense verdict upon retrial, the Board of Supervisors, in looking at the big picture, particularly the downside risks and expense of a new trial, decided not to appeal the jury’s decision.”
Moore’s lawyer, M. Catherine Jones of Nevada City, called Kiernan’s statement “really sad.”
“This case really shows that whistle-blowers should not be punished, and it sounds like the county is still denying that they treated Anne wrongly,” Jones said.
Moore faxed a response accompanied by a Bureau of State Audits fact sheet on how to file a complaint under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act.
Her fax said: “My hope is the government of this county will finally realize two things: one, that people accused of crimes who cannot afford a lawyer have a right to a public defender who will actually defend them to the best of his or her ability, and two, that county employees who report corruption in their departments should be welcomed and not harassed and fired.”
In her lawsuit, Moore claimed she was forced to resign in December 1999, because office co-workers retaliated after she made claims of shoddy legal work for the county’s poor.
Kiernan acknowledged the office was poorly managed under then-Chief Public Defender Richard Campbell, who was later fired, but said Moore instigated many of her problems.
In November, a jury sided with Moore 9-3 and awarded her $231,850 for economic damages and emotional distress. The remaining balance came from interest and court costs, such as filing fees and deposition costs.
Of the total, Kiernan said, some will be covered by the county’s insurance. The precise amount wasn’t available Friday afternoon, he said, because the county’s risk manager in the Personnel Department had left for the day.
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