County settles for 375K in sexual harassment lawsuit

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, County Judge, Williamson County at 1:55 pm by wcnews

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.


  1. S4B said,

    March 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Not only that, today Judge Gattis will be asking the court to cover his legal fees related to the dismissed Duty suit. Is there no limit to the actions that the Court will take to serve their own interests? It just amazes me that the majority continues to vote in these obviously self-serving officials with no regard to the damage that they are doing to the County. Good luck WILCO…

  2. wcnews said,

    March 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    We’ve been writing for years about how bad “one party” rule is for our county. This is what happens, and the same bad things are happening at the state level too, with Perry and the GOP. There is no accountability in our government in Williamson County or at the state level. We could certainly use some luck too.

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