DALLAS (CN) - A former assistant Texas attorney general can advance claims that she was fired for refusing to make bogus complaints about a Dallas jurist, a judge ruled.
Ginger Weatherspoon sued the Texas Attorney General's office in May 2009, claiming that her superiors had tried to extract perjured testimony from her about former Judge David Hanschen.
Two of the office's senior regional attorneys, Jim Jones and Harry Monck, allegedly called on Weatherspoon repeatedly to prepare and sign an affidavit that falsely stated Hanschen had threatened the Attorney General's office, treated assistant attorneys general adversely in court and entered prejudicial rulings against an assistant attorney general.
After refusing to comply, Weatherspoon was called in to the administrative offices, yelled at, and told that Attorney General Greg Abbott himself was waiting on her signature on the affidavit, the complaint alleged. Weatherspoon said Jones and Monck confined her to a room and told her she could not leave until she complied.
Witherspoon was allegedly released after she prepared a typewritten statement that made no allegations of judicial misconduct against Hanschen. She said she reported the incident to her managing attorney, Paula Crockett, who drove with her away from the administrative offices. As they were leaving, Monck allegedly called Crockett and demanded that she bring Weatherspoon back immediately to change the statement.
Weatherspoon said she refused to comply and that the office then retaliated against and fired her. The office also allegedly ignored the orders of Weatherspoon's doctor to place her on light duty restrictions after back surgery.
"Both Jones and Monck, as well as their supervisor, were publicly demoted because of their conduct," the complaint stated.
Dallas County Judge Martin Hoffman refused to grant the office summary judgment based on its claims that Weatherspoon failed to present evidence of her claims.
He also denied the office's plea to the jurisdiction, concluding that Weatherspoon "in good faith made reports of alleged violations of law to the appropriate law enforcement authorities under the [Texas] Whistleblower Act."
The ruling paves the way for the case to go to trial, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 6.
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