Former court employee files lawsuit against Federal Way

From staff reports:

Former Federal Way Municipal Court employee Cindy Roque has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Roque, a former court services supervisor, originally filed a claim Feb. 5 for damages in the sum of $500,000. Roque filed the claim "for damages sustained because of tortious conduct" by the city and court.

Roque was hired in April 2008, was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 22, and was terminated as an employee on Jan. 28, 2009.

The lawsuit was filed May 22, and seeks damages to be determined at a jury trial slated for Nov. 8, 2010, said Roque's attorney, Dan Albertson of Tacoma.

Roque accused Judge Michael Morgan of threatening suicide and/or workplace violence at the court. In December, Federal Way Judge David Larson conducted an investigation and found that Roque's allegations were "baseless" and "not credible."

"After a review of this situation, I am of the opinion that Ms. Roque is using these events and making allegations of retaliation either to assure her of a job at the city or to negotiate a favorable departure from the city. My opinion is that her actions and allegations have been calculated to ‘set up’ the city for a claim of retaliation if she is terminated or to prevent her termination," Larson's report said. The report also concluded that "there was no imminent threat of Judge Morgan harming himself."

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Morgan provided the paper with results of a polygraph exam he took in February. The exam concluded that Morgan, who denied claims made by Roque, answered questions truthfully regarding those allegations, the paper said.

Both judges as well as any appropriate court personnel still need to give depositions, Roque's attorney Dan Albertson said.

"Judge Larson is not independent in this matter. A legitimate investigation could have been done with an independent party, but it wasn't," Albertson said.

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