Jury awards $182K in wrongful discharge case against state

April 29, 2022 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More than five years after a former supervisor at a Montana juvenile detention facility was fired, a jury awarded him $182,000 in damages in a wrongful termination case.

The Department of Corrections said Bill Marsh was fired from the Pine Hills Correctional Facility in Miles City in August 2016 for allowing an employee who was on administrative leave inside the secure facility.

However, Marsh’s attorney argued the state violated department policies by allowing an employee who had already expressed bias against Marsh to investigate the incident that led to his firing.

A Lewis and Clark County jury, on April 15, found the Corrections Department violated its policy that administrative investigations should be fair, neutral and objective. The damages were awarded for lost wages and benefits, the Montana State News Bureau reports. The jury also found that the facility did not have good cause to fire Marsh in the first place.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Department of Corrections declined to comment on the award, spokesperson Carolynn Bright said Friday.

Marsh’s attorney, Tara Harris, said Marsh is happy the jury found in his favor and is holding Pine Hills accountable. The firing ended Marsh’s law enforcement career and that he has moved out of Montana, Marsh said.