City Hall

Former Muni Judge Brings Federal Lawsuit Against City; Claims Harassment, Retaliation

On February 13, Steve Thompson wrote that ex-municipal judge Staci Williams -- a Hockaday grad with a Georgetown law degree dismissed by the Dallas City Council last June -- might sue the city. The reason: Williams claimed repeatedly that she was sexually harassed by Administrative Judge C. Victor Lander, who retaliated by giving her more work, denying her the computer she needed to do her job, demanding she return to work while on FMLA leave and ultimately leading the charge to have her ousted by the council.

Lander "vehemently denied the allegations," Thompson wrote last month, "and city human resources investigators found no evidence to support them." When the council chose not to bring back Williams last summer, she had but one defender among the members: now-Mayor Dwaine Caraway, who said Williams "was punished because she raised lady issues."

Nevertheless, the allegations resurface in a federal lawsuit Williams filed against the city of Dallas yesterday. (Among the charges: "Lander made another inappropriate comment to Williams in front of a female Associate Judge, stating 'Hey, Judge Williams, that is an ugly bruise on your leg. ... just shows the kinky sex you are into.'") The suit disputes the city's findings and council's decision, insisting: "The City was knowingly and deliberately indifferent to the violations of Williams's constitutional and other federally-protected rights" and that "among other things, Williams's reputation has been severely damaged, limiting her opportunities for other employment."

She's seeking compensatory damages, along with "lost wages, including back pay, front pay and lost fringe benefits." Her side of the story follows. I've asked city spokesman Frank Librio and the City Attorney's Office for comment and will update if and when one arrives.

Staci Williams v City of Dallas