Jury says state didn't retaliate against social worker

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comAugust 3, 2011 

A Fayette Circuit Court jury found last week that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services did not retaliate against a former state social worker based in Jessamine County after she reported alleged misconduct by a supervisor.

Jami Hall filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against her supervisors in November 2007, saying she was retaliated against after reporting that a supervisor had falsified investigation documents.

Hall alleged that she was reprimanded in writing and denied a transfer because she reported the supervisor.

Also, two weeks after Hall testified at a deposition in the lawsuit, a regional supervisor who represented the cabinet at the depositions went to Hall's house with a police officer to deliver her reprimand and look for files alleged to be missing.

Hall resigned and never returned to work after the events at her home, said her attorney, Shane Sidebottom.

On July 25, a jury found that the written reprimand, the denial of the transfer and the visit to Hall's home were not retaliation, Sidebottom said Tuesday.

"We're pleased with the jury's decision," cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said Tuesday. "Their verdict supports the cabinet's dedicated and committed employees who work daily to protect Kentucky's most vulnerable adults and children."

When considering the visit to Hall's home, the "jury deliberated for several hours but did not find that the home visit was retaliation," Sidebottom said. "The judge did state on the record afterward that the jury felt the actions were inappropriate but just were not retaliation."

In an interview Tuesday, Judge Pamela Goodwine confirmed that the jury thought the visit to Hall's home was inappropriate but not retaliation.

Sidebottom said Tuesday that Hall has not decided whether to appeal the jury's decision.

Reach Valarie Honeycutt Spears at (859) 231-3409 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 3409.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service