Former Union Gap clerk settles lawsuit against city

KUDERER LAW GROUP NEWS RELEASE -- Former City Clerk Kathryn Thompson agreed to settle her lawsuit against the City of Union Gap and former Mayor Jim Lemon for $950,000.00, said her Seattle-based attorneys, Patricia Kuderer and Stephen Teller. Full details of the settlement have not yet been released. According to her attorneys, in addition to the payment the City has also agreed to remove from Thompson's personnel file the disciplinary-related documents and a post-termination performance evaluation Lemon authored that Thompson said contained false accusations and unfairly blackened her otherwise stellar 31-year municipal job performance record. She is also reported to be entitled to a positive letter of recommendation from the City that accurately reflects her high quality work performance.

"Kathy stood up to former Mayor Jim Lemon because she knew his abusive and demeaning behavior had to stop," Kuderer said. "This settlement is complete vindication and should restore her excellent reputation in the community."

Teller added, "I have been so impressed with the way Kathy has handled this. Jim Lemon hurt a lot of people, but he couldn't break Kathy Thompson. She's a smart and courageous person, and an excellent City Clerk. She will always have my respect and admiration for the courage she showed in this tough fight."

Thompson said Lemon forced her to resign in January of 2012 after subjecting her to verbal abuse, unwarranted discipline, and false accusations of poor work performance and insubordination that occurred over several years. In September of 2012 she sued Lemon and the City for retaliatory discharge, sex discrimination, defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She initially sought $2.6 million in damages but found replacement work nearly two years later that greatly reduced her monetary losses. Lemon was not present when the settlement was reached on May 29.

Kuderer and Teller also represent another former Union Gap City Clerk, Sherrie Testerman, who recently sued Lemon and the City for similar employment-related and other claims. Stephanie Alexander of Seattle defended the City and Lemon and remains their attorney for the Testerman case.