Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky denied the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the agency by two of its former lawyers.
Susan Perry, Jennifer Taylor and communications director John Law were suspended in mid-2012 after raising questions about a DHHR decision to award a marketing and advertising contract to the highest bidder, Ohio-based Fahlgren Mortine. Taylor and Law have since been fired, and while Perry continues to work for the agency, she and Taylor have sued DHHR for violating state whistleblower laws. The attorneys also claim they were victims of gender-based discrimination.
Stucky’s order, released last week, sheds new light on Taylor and Perry’s treatment after returning to work following their nearly five month suspension. Despite being highly-paid, highly-qualified attorneys, the women were assigned to a small, windowless cubicle at the Diamond Building in downtown Charleston, away from the DHHR’s main office. Instead of legal work, the women performed “document desk reviews” of Medicaid appeals, a job previously performed by a nurse.
In other news:
- The Legislature adjourned its first special session shortly after noon on Thursday. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the special session yesterday afternoon to address six bills, four of which failed during the regular legislative session that ended late last week. The Senate was poised to complete all the special session work last night, voting to suspend constitutional rules and complete four of the six bills last night. But a measure to increase some magistrate judges’ pay became bogged down in the House, where leaders could not gain enough support to suspend constitutional rules.
- Attorney General Patrick Morrisey held a press conference Wednesday to announce his statewide jobs summit and listening tour. Morrisey said he hopes to spur job growth in the state. And while that’s not a job typically associated with the attorney general’s office, Morrisey contends there are things he can do to help the state’s economy.
- The U.S. Senate on Wednesday blocked a bill by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Penn., that would have closed loopholes in the nation’s gun background check system. The Associated Press reports.
- Daily Mail education reporter Shay Maunz attended a press conference by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and former Gov. Bob Wise, now president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, as they announced a a statewide review of classroom technology.
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