A woman who claims she was not hired by Attorney General Jay Nixon's office because she is a quadriplegic will receive $26,000,d April 17, according to a settlement agreement filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
The payments will be made to Marla Grothoff over a 52-month period, according to the settlement, which does not go into effect until it is approved by the court. Neither side will be allowed to declare itself the winner in the case, and Ms. Grothoff is barred from ever claiming that she was an assistant attorney general or that she even worked for the attorney general, according to the agreement.
The settlement is also worded to note that even though the money is being paid, the attorney general's office is not conceding that any harm was done to Ms. Grothoff. "Neither the fact of this settlement and release agreement, nor any actions taken by the parties hereto or any of them, either previous to or in connection with this agreement or the mediation which led to it, shall be deemed or construed to be an admission of the truth or falsity of any matter pertaining to any claim or defense alleged in the pleadings filed on behalf of the parties in the lawsuit, or an acknowledgment by any of the parties hereto of any liability to the other parties or to any person for any other claim, demand, or action, and all liability is expressly denied by each of the parties."
Ms. Grothoff served as an attorney for the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Division of Social Services from 1988 to 2003. When the decision was made to transfer the legal work for that division to the attorney general's office, most of the lawyers were transferred to the attorney general's office, according to Ms. Grothoff's petition, which was originally filed in Boone County Circuit Court, but not Ms. Grothoff.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Grothoff claimed she was discriminated against because she is a quadriplegic with limited use of her hands.
The agreement also contains more background information on the case, stipulated by both sides. When the state legislature transferred some of the Department of Social Services' duties to the attorney general's office in 2003, it ended the jobs of 16 DSS lawyers, including Ms. Grothoff. She was handling only seven of the 1,893 cases that were transferred to the attorney general's office. It was also acknowledged by both parties that Ms. Grothoff had received a negative review by her DSS supervisor and that out of the 16 attorneys whose jobs were eliminated, DSS supervisors recommended 12 for employment with the attorney general's office. No job was ever offered to Ms. Grothoff or the other three, according to the settlement.
It was also stipulated that others for whom Ms. Grothoff worked during her tenure with DSS had been "very complimentary" of her work.