Former Pierce County Prosecutor awarded $2 million

Dec 22, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: Dec 23, 2022, 10:14 am
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Doug Vanscoy has been awarded $2 million in a wrongful termination case.

“This was an important verdict,” Jack Connelly, Vanscoy’s attorney, told MyNorthwest. “This was a tragically terrible way to treat a 35-year lead prosecutor who was following his oath to report criminal misconduct. Doug Vanscoy was fired for doing his job well.”

According to a press release sent by Connelly, Vanscoy discovered that the County Executive’s Office allegedly had engaged in misconduct in 2018, including entering a document with a false notation in the County Workday system and contracting with an out-of-state law firm without getting bids, as required by law.

The suit alleges that when Vanscoy pushed the issue by filing a Whistleblower Complaint, he was abruptly fired.

According to the news release:

The County did not conduct a timely investigation, the County hired a civil attorney with a municipal bond background, rather than a criminal lawyer to review criminal allegations, the County never referred the complaint out for law enforcement investigation or review, and did not request independent prosecutorial review as required by the Rules of Professional Conduct applicable to lawyers.”

A jury determined that the firing was a wrongful termination in violation of public policy and awarded $2,041,000 to Vanscoy and his wife, Mary Henterly, in damages.

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The Pierce County Prosecutor spokesman Adam Faber told KIRO Newsradio, “This is still ongoing litigation. Pierce County generally does not comment on ongoing litigation.”

It is not known whether the case will be appealed.

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Former Pierce County Prosecutor awarded $2 million