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Whislteblower Awarded $2.8 million in Sacramento County Jury Trial; More Damages Await Defendant



Kathleen Carroll was awarded $2,844,528 by a Sacramento county jury today in her whistleblower retaliation suit.  But the jury decided it’s not done with the defendants yet.  
Starting at 10:30 a.m. today, defendants Lee Pope and Mary Armstrong will resume the witness stand regarding their financial condition.  
Then, the jury will decide on punitive damages for the malicious or oppressive behavior of Pope and Armstrong.  Both denied knowing Ms. Carroll contacted the Bureau of State Audits regarding a shockingly huge backlog of teacher misconduct cases.  But, it was revealed at trial that Pope and Armstrong contacted the California Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) regarding Ms. Carroll months before incidents they claim ultimately led to her termination.  The DPA (now reorganized as CalHR) reviews adverse actions against state employees, among other functions.
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing was called “one of the worst-run state agencies” after an audit spurred by Ms. Carroll’s whistle-blowing.  She brought alarming evidence to the auditor that the Commission was in some cases years behind in reviewing reports of teacher misconduct, including criminal offenses involving children. 
Ms. Carroll had no formal discipline before Pope abruptly placed her on leave, then fired her. Immediately after the auditor’s report in April 2011, Assembly Member (now State Senator) Ricardo Lara requested the resignation of the commission’s management team, which includes Armstrong and Pope.  Both left the commission later that year.
The defense attempted to smear Ms. Carroll’s name. The accusations ranged from sexual harassment, to reckless vacationing, to spending too much time in the bathroom, to being “crazy,” “curt,” and “lazy.”  The woman she was accused of sexually harassing testified that there was nothing sexual or inappropriate about Ms. Carroll’s behavior. Pope claimed to have written “counseling” memos about Ms. Carroll’s conduct over a year before he fired her, but testified that he never gave them to her.  She was never so much as given a written warning.
The 118-page audit report includes many alarming examples substantiating Ms. Carroll’s concerns.  For instance, among the sample of 30y cases the auditors reviewed, a teacher was arrested for kidnapping, then months later for raping a child, but his credential was not revoked until over two years later.  Copies of the report are available athttps://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2010-119.pdf.
The punitive damages phase is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 10, 2016.  The trial is held in Department 22 on the 4th floor of the Sacramento Superior Court with the Honorable Judge Russell L. Hom presiding.

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