A federal lawsuit against Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan by an employee he fired when he was Saline County circuit clerk was settled this week for $30,000, including attorney fees.
David Fuqua, who represented Milligan as attorney for the Central Arkansas Risk Management Association, confirmed the settlement in a suit by Marilyn McDaniel. CARMA is a self-insurance program of local governments financed by dues based on a formula including population and property wealth. It will pay the settlement and Fuqua’s legal fees. Fuqua said Milligan had been dismissed as a individual defendant and the suit was against him in his official capacity.
McDaniel’s suit was filed as a disability discrimination claim. She said Milligan failed to accommodate her narcolepsy by granting leave or a different job. But the lawsuit also said Milligan’s actions against her were retaliation for her refusal to return a document of his she’d found on an office fax machine — a thoroughbred horse racing program.
Milligan had sued McDaniel in Saline circuit court to force her to return the document. That suit was dismissed, but McDaniel counter-claimed that the suit was harassment and intended to squelch her intention to campaign against him.
In defense of the federal suit, Milligan would have argued that McDaniel had been a disruptive employee and not productive, Fuqua said.
Another lawsuit is still pending in Saline County by Ronda DePriest, fired by Milligan as chief deputy in the circuit clerk’s office and replaced by Jim Harris, who’s now his chief of staff at the treasurer’s office. Milligan’s brief tenure there has already been marked by controversy over the illegal hiring of a relative and other issues.
I’ve sent a request to Milligan for comment on the $30,000 his action has cost.
McDaniel was represented by Luther Sutter.