Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris > SBH News > SBH attorneys earn dismissal for Jackson County in high-profile case involving discrimination claim

SBH attorneys earn dismissal for Jackson County in high-profile case involving discrimination claim

Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris partner Charlie Harris led the defense of Jackson County against claims of sexual harassment and retaliation, resulting in a dismissal with prejudice this afternoon. Jackson County will pay the plaintiff no money, and she agrees not to file any similar suits in the future.

Charlie Harris

Christine Lynde — the plaintiff — dismissed the suit, previously set for trial in June, after deposition details revealed her inappropriate relationship with Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp. Lynde previously worked as an administrative assistant to Sharp, who resigned in the wake of the lurid details last month.

SBH attorneys Erin Lawrence and Nick Seacord assisted Harris on the case.

“We are satisfied with the result achieved in this case,” Harris said. “Not only will Jackson County not pay a dime to Ms. Lynde, but the work in this case helped expose a pattern of corruption by an elected official.”

Revelations from an April motion to enforce discovery provided details from depositions Harris conducted with Sharp, including his acknowledgement of an $8,000 down payment for a house he shared with Lynde and the trips the two took together using public money. Lynde also received promotions and multiple pay raises while engaging in a romantic relationship with Sharp and his wife.

The perks included being the highest-paid civilian employee on staff, the ability to work from home and a car allowance.

In a statement, Sharp said his decision to resign, effective April 19, was “due to a pending legal matter, and in order to avoid further disruption to the important work of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.”

Lynde made several allegations in her 2015 lawsuit pertaining to her employment. She alleged she was sexually harassed by a male coworker, who she accused of making unwanted sexual comments and touching her inappropriately. She also alleged she was retaliated against by, among other things, being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a female co-worker. No criminal charges were filed against Lynde, although records show Jackson County agreed to a $95,000 settlement with the woman who made the claim.