CHARLESTON – A former Kanawha County official has settled a lawsuit against the county's seven circuit judges for $195,000.
Earl Osborne was fired in 2001 after he allegedly used a racial slur to describe a black man in the county's alternative sentencing program. Osborne has denied making the comment.
Last week, U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver said the seven Kanawha circuit judges should've allowed Osborne a hearing and not just signed an administrative order relieving him of his duties. But the judge did rule Osborne, as an at-will employee, was not entitled to his old job or back pay.
"The judges of the 13th Judicial Circuit feel very strongly that they acted correctly in issuing their administrative order," the seven judges involved wrote in a press release. "The Court had serious concerns that the integrity of the Home Confinement Program was threatened by the continued participation by Mr. Osborne," the release states.
The seven judges are current circuit judges Charles King, Irene Berger, Duke Bloom, Tod Kaufman, Jim Stucky and Paul Zakaib as well as retired judge Herman.
The case was scheduled to go to trial next week, according to the release. With six of the seven current judges involved, the case would've caused problems at the Kanawha Judicial Annex, according to the release.