Sunday, April 9, 2000
Dismissed pathologist gets
$250,000 whistleblower judgment
HOUSTON (AP) - A federal jury has awarded
$250,000 to a former Harris County pathologist who claims she
was fired in 1998 for exposing alleged illegal activity in the
medical examiner's office.
It is the second time a jury has sided with
a fired worker from the medical examiner's office who crossed
Dr. Joye Carter to report problems in that county office.
The pathologist, Marilyn Murr Doyle, said
she was grateful for the award.
"I did what was right, and I feel like
they backed me up," Doyle told the Houston Chronicle. "I
feel like justice has been done."
Doyle testified that she went to Carter
on Jan. 5, 1998, with concerns that Dr. Delbert Van Dusen was
performing autopsies without a Texas medical license.
Although Carter said Van Dusen's activities
were within legal boundaries, Doyle took the matter to Harris
County District Attorney John B. Holmes Jr. four days later.
Her report spurred an investigation, which
she discussed anonymously with a Houston Chronicle reporter in
a Jan. 16, 1998, article.
Though not named publicly by Holmes or the
newspaper, Carter knew Doyle gave the interview and sparked the
investigation, Doyle claimed. Carter fired Doyle two months later.
F. Clinton Gambill II, the county's attorney,
said he will ask U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon to throw out
the jury verdict because of contradictory evidence presented at
Jurors deliberated about six hours before
reaching a decision.
In November 1998, the county agreed to paid
Dr. Elizabeth "Libby" Johnson a $375,000 settlement.
Johnson sued the county in March 1997, contending
that Carter fired her for reporting potentially illegal cover-ups
and sabotage at the office.
Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications