The Lewis County Risk Management Department has received a tort claim from a former employee of the Assessor’s Office asking for $900,000 for alleged retaliation, discrimination and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During a meeting with the Board of Lewis County Commissioners on Tuesday, Risk and Safety Administrator Paulette Young informed the board that Virginia Anne Watson originally filed a human resources complaint, but has since dropped the complaint and submitted the tort claim instead.

The tort claim has undergone a pre-defense review, Young said. 

“We have the opportunity if we see what could become a liability issue down the road that we can use our risk pool to either assign one of our attorneys here or an outside counsel to walk us through the appropriate steps,” Young said of the pre-defense review. “… Because we have some ADA issues in this, we really wanted to make sure that how we handled this one was appropriate.”

The county will be represented by the Seattle-based firm Michael and Alexander PLLC, the same firm that completed the pre-defense review. 

The Chronicle has submitted a public records request for the tort claim. 

Young said the parties involved will have the opportunity to seek a court injunction, which could prohibit the release of the documents. If neither party asks for or receives an injunction, the documents will be made available after 15 days. 

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