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$3 Million Jury Award in Wrongful Termination of Washington Prosecutor

A jury in Washington’s King County awarded a fired prosecutor $3,075,170. The lawsuit by Barbara Corey charged that she was wrongfully terminated by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office in 2004. At the time of her firing, Corey was number 3 in command.

Corey contended Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Horne abused the power of his office to settle a “personal vendetta” with Corey by firing her without cause. In addition to disparaging her in the media to ruin her career, Horne manufactured a criminal investigation into how Corey handled or mishandled donations for employees going through personal problems.

On August 15, 2008, the jury found for Corey, ruling that the Prosecutor’s Office negligently disseminated confidential investigatory information; it engaged in malicious and reckless conduct that defamed Corey directly and by implication; it put her in a false light before the public; it intentionally disclosed information and its conduct was outrageous; and it wrongfully terminated her.

The jury awarded her $1.5 million for damage to her reputation, $750,000 for non-economic damages, $700,176 in economic damages related to the defamation and false light claims, and $124,994 for loss of wages from the wrongful termination.

Corey was represented by Tacoma attorneys John R. Connelly, Jr., and Thomas B. Vertetis. The trial court denied counsels' request for attorney fees, holding that the request was untimely under court rules. The Prosecutor's Office has appealed the jury's verdict and Corey has cross-appealed the denial of attorney fees. See: Corey v. Pierce County, et al., King County Superior Court Cause No.: 06-2-14647-6.

Source: The News Tribune

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Related legal case

Corey v. Pierce County, et al.

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