Attorney and Justice

Jane Doe III v. DSHS – $995k Settlement For Sexual Harassment

About the case

From the Seattle Times:

Washington state and a public-employees union have agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit stemming from the actions of a former Western State Hospital official accused of abusing at least 15 female employees before he was fired in 2003.

The actions of Barrette Green have now cost the state nearly $3 million — plus attorney’s fees — and prompted the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to revamp its sexual-harassment policies and training.

The $995,000 settlement announced Monday stems from a case brought by Jackie Delgado of Pierce County. Green is accused of harassing Delgado repeatedly between 1989 and 2003, pressuring her into a sexual relationship and at one point holding an unloaded gun to her head, pulling the trigger and saying “See how easy a person can die?”

The case had been scheduled to go to trial in Pierce County Superior Court next month.

Previously identified in court papers as “Jane Doe III,” Delgado said she decided to go public with her name for the first time to encourage others who suffer workplace harassment to act.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Delgado said in a statement released by her attorney, Darrell Cochran. “I definitely didn’t win — but I got to end it.”

Another hospital employee, Kathleen Lizee, received a $896,000 settlement in 2003, and several other employees received smaller amounts based on claims filed over a boss often known as “The Green Machine.”

Cochran said Green’s case was particularly egregious because while he was habitually abusing employees, he was given a raise and promotion, becoming the hospital’s risk manager.

In addition, Green was accused of using his position as president of a Washington Federation of State Employees union local to threaten and intimidate hospital workers who might complain about him

Jim Stevenson, a spokesman for DSHS, confirmed the settlement, saying DSHS will pay $795,000, with the remainder coming from the state employees union.

“This was a terrible situation,” Stevenson said. “We regret what happened and we hope this settlement will let her put her life back together and go forward.”

He said Western State Hospital’s management has since “gone to great lengths to train people to recognize and report sexual harassment.”

Greg Devereux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees, said the union was not responsible for the allegations against Green. “We didn’t think we had a whole lot of liability, but to go forward with a trial, you could spend a tremendous amount of money.”

Green, who could not be reached for comment, was removed as a defendant in the case several years ago.

“There was nothing more that we could get out of Barrette Green,” Cochran said. “His liability would be covered by the state.” Cochran said the move was partly out of concern for his client’s safety, given that Green had threatened violence in the past.

No criminal charges were brought against Green for his actions at Western State Hospital, though court records in Thurston County indicate he pleaded guilty to an apparently unrelated domestic-violence charge in 2009.

A lawsuit Green brought against the state over his firing was dismissed in 2005 by an appeals board that found that three women had made credible accusations against him.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

Result

  • Settlement: $995,000

Cause Number

  • Pierce County Superior Court, No. 05-2-05146-4

Defendant(s)

Attorney(s)

Ranch House Barbecue destroyed by flooding in 2007Attorney Darrell Cochran looking at a computer screen