Once-fired Lynnwood officer wants her job back

  • Jim Haley<br>For the Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:36am

A former Lynnwood police officer, who won a federal court judgment against the city in April, on Aug. 4 filed a second lawsuit seeking reinstatement to her old job and back pay.

Cynthia Caterson was fired from the force in December 2005. Her new lawsuit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court names Lynnwood, Police Chief Steve Jensen and the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office as defendants.

The complaint alleges that Lynnwood and Jensen retaliated against Caterson in violation of state law.

It also alleges that the prosecutor’s office “aided and abetted an unfair employment practice” by issuing a letter stating that Caterson gave “false testimony” in an investigation into whether she purchased greeting cards and stamps while on duty. She also wants the court to order the letter rescinded.

The police department alleged that she lied during the investigation of the shopping incident. Caterson alleges in documents that the department “falsely” told the prosecutor that she had lied.

Barbara Dykes, chief civil deputy prosecutor, said she has no comment on the merits of the allegation.

“We’re reviewing it now to assess where we are,” Dykes said. She believes the prosecutor’s office will ask the court to drop the county agency from the lawsuit.

Seattle lawyer Bob Christie, who represents Lynnwood, could not be reached for comment Monday. In the federal trial, Christie maintained that the department didn’t discriminate against Caterson. Anything negative that happened to her was due to her performance, he said then.

Earlier this year, a federal court jury listened to two weeks of testimony and deliberated nearly a day before finding that Caterson had been discriminated against, and the city retaliated against her. The jury awarded Caterson nearly $350,000.

Talk to us