The AOC appears to have settled a lawsuit brought against it by former AOC employee and whistleblower Jack Urquhart.
From the Daily Journal:
The Administrative Office of the Courts will pay more than $53,000 to settle a suit brought by a former employee who claimed he was forced out his job after alerting reporters to the costs of a 2009 judicial conference.
Jack Urquhart, who retired from his analyst job of 11 years in December 2009, will receive $33,782 to drop his lawsuit and to cover the costs of a private mediator, the AOC announced in a press release Tuesday. The AOC will also pay $20,000 to Urquhart’s lawyers with the San Francisco firm of Moss & Hough.
AOC Watcher readers will remember that Mr. Urquhart became a catalyst that inspired some of the most vocal opposition and criticism the AOC and Judicial Council has ever faced when he revealed to reporters of the $80,000 that the AOC spent for a Judicial Council conference in San Francisco last year. After being forced to resign for his actions, actions that many believe were honorable, Mr. Urquhart eventually filed a lawsuit against the AOC. The actions that AOC took against Urquhart inspired legislators to draw up legislation that will ensure that AOC and court employees are covered by current whistleblower laws. That legislation is still pending in Sacramento.
But anyone who thinks that settlement of the case means the AOC was in the wrong, would be surprised to know that the settlement “is not an admission of wrongdoing.”
The nine-page settlement document says the agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing by the AOC.
“We are pleased that this matter has been resolved amicably,” Mary Roberts, general counsel for the AOC, said in a prepared statement that was approved by both parties. “The AOC remains committed to the highest ethical standards of public service. We respect and value the unique talents that each of our employees contributes to advancing the Judicial Council’s goal of improving access to justice in California.”