Via the AAS, County settles lawsuit involving former judge.
Williamson County has agreed to pay a total of $375,000 to settle a federal lawsuit in which two former county employees accused a now-retired County Court-at-Law judge of sexually harassing them and yelling profanities at them over a three-month period in 2009.
Williamson County Court Commissioner Lisa Birkman said at a commissioners meeting in early March that the settlement was not an “admission to any fault by the county.”
“This is a very tough decision and I’ve given it a lot of thought,” she said.
Birkman and another commissioner, Cynthia Long, said it was in the “best interests” of the county to settle because of the expensive legal fees it might face if the case went to trial.
According to the lawsuit, the abuse began in October 2009 when Don Higginbotham, the judge in County Court-at-Law No. 3, uttered a profanity at Lee and told her to shut up.
On another occasion, Higginbotham told one of the plaintiffs to “come here, that he needed help going to the bathroom because it was too heavy for him to hold it up (clearly referring to his penis) because he has a bad back,” the lawsuit said.
In November 2009, Higginbotham told McGuyer to get out of his way, saying “I can’t even see around your butt,” according to the lawsuit. The same month, Lee asked for a peppermint, and the judge made a sexual remark, the suit said.
That money could have certainly gone to much better use, like county employee health care and raises, instead of protecting County Judge Dan Gattis’ miscreant long-time friend.
[UPDATE]: There are reports that Higgenbotham was back working as a visiting judge in Williamson County recently.