Corey v. Pierce County

Case type:  Civil Rights, Defamation, Wrongful Termination
$3 million Verdict
Jack Connelly

Case Summary

Barbara Corey was terminated without just cause from her position as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Pierce County Prosecutors Office after a dedicated 20 year career of service. Plaintiff Corey contended that reasons for her termination were political. Due to the wrongful conduct of the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s Prosecuting Attorney’s, Barbara Corey was denied promotional opportunities, suffered loss of job opportunities, loss of employment and/or loss of compensation benefits, and psychological and emotional damages.

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Case Details

Barbara Corey was summoned into the office of the Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Horne and told she was being terminated, effective immediately. She was also given the option of resigning. She decided, under protest, to resign after her 34 days of earned compensation and 2 days of personal holiday. The following media attention sparked comment from Corey, which angered Gerald Horne. He decided, despite their oral agreement concerning her resignation, to renege on this agreement and terminate her employment before the exhaustion of her compensatory and personal time. He justified these actions by accusing her of mishandling charitable funds within the office and beginning an investigation against her.

In violation of Washington law and Plaintiff’s privacy rights, the Pierce County Prosecutors Office leaked information to the media, before the accusations were investigated, stating that Mrs. Corey was under pending investigation for mishandling office funds. Without an appropriate investigation the accusation was baseless and intended only as a blow to Mrs. Corey’s professional reputation. The investigation revealed that the accusations were without foundation. The jury awarded Plff Corey $3 million dollars for defamation of character and wrongful termination.