JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lawmakers have been watching the state’s legal expense fund with increased scrutiny following several large settlements in the past years, and thanks to the demands for more transparency, Attorney General Josh Hawley has been publishing monthly reports on the state’s payouts.
In the latest report, published in October, it shows that the state paid out more than $300,000 to a former probation officer who alleged sexual harassment by one of her bosses adding to the growing list of claims against the state’s Department of Corrections. Since 2012, the state has paid more than $7.8 million in discrimination lawsuits against the agency.
But that hasn’t addressed the influx of lawsuits against the state, with the recent events regarding the Governor and the Missouri State Board of Education potentially adding to the number of lawsuits against the state.
Now, it seems another lawsuit is making its way into the Cole County Circuit Court.
Barbara Bartlett, Shawn Hernandez, and Gary Kimball have filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, as well as against Attorney General Josh Hawley and the director Chlora Lindley-Myers seeking compensation for lost wages.
The suit alleges that employees were not paid as they should have been, as state statute says that insurance examiners within the department shall be compensated according to the applicable levels established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
But, as the case filings state, the former director of DIFP in 2001, Scott Lakin, made the decision to not pay the commissioners according to those standards. The state since has never returned to those standards for pay, and the plaintiffs argue that they have been denied their rights of compensation in the form of lost wages and pension.
The case has been assigned to Judge Jon Beetem, but no scheduled hearings have been made at this time.
You can read the lawsuit’s filing document here:
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.