BOISE A major lawsuit filed against the state of Idaho has been settled out of court -- but for how much?
That information isn't being given out by the parties involved in the lawsuit.
However, political analysts say it could be a hefty sum, because the State of Idaho has already paid over $500,000 to defend the wrongful firing-and sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a former director of the Idaho Transportation Department.
WRONGFULFIRING, DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
Former Idaho Transportation Director (ITD), Pam Lowe filed a wrongful firing and sexual discrimination lawsuit against the State of Idaho in 2009.
Lowe alleged she was fired for political reasons, and also claimed sexual discrimination when her male replacement was hired at a signficant pay increase.
According to her attorney, Lowe had asked the state for back-pay, benefits and salary losses from when she was fired back in 2009.
On July 11th, private mediator James Huegli met with Lowe and representatives from the state of Idaho. Both parties reached a settlement after 14 hours.
Heugli told KTVB by phone on Monday that each party seemed satisfied.
Lowe told KTVB she was pleased.
My family and I have decided that it is time to look to our future, and we are pleased to have reached a satisfactory resolution, said Lowe, by phone Monday.
ATTORNEY: 'NO COMMENT'
Lowe is currently living and working in Delaware as the Finance Director for the Delaware Transportation Department. She was taking phone calls most of the day, and did not provide any further comment on the settlement.
The State of Idaho hired Boise law firm Holland and Hart as legal defense. On Monday, Attorney Knewl Squires told KTVB he would not comment further on the case, saying the matter was confidential.
KTVB's political analyst, Dr. David Adler, believes the state could have avoided paying a settlement by following protocol.
It s pretty clear that the processes and procedures were not followed in her case, and of course it had an odor to it, Adler said. The very fact that she was replaced by a man who was paid another $20,000 certainly didn't help the argument by the state that it did not engage in any sort of sex discrimination.
Not only did Lowe argue she was sexually discriminated against, but she also said the termination came following criticism by Idaho lawmakers and a disagreement over a road project with a company that gave money to Governor Butch Otter s campaign.
It takes a lot of courage for somebody to challenge the state, said Adler. That is of course why these wrongful termination suits against governmental departments capture so much attention.
Adler told KTVBhe believes the public will eventually know the sum of the settlement
It's common to have confidentiality in these types of cases, but you can bet that eventually word will leak out, Adler added.
WASLOWE 'BULLIED' BYLAWMAKERS?
KTVB spoke with both sides in the case after Lowe won a preliminary due process claim in April. That's when a federal judge ordered that the Idaho Transportation Department to provide a reason for firing Lowe from her position back in 2009.
We have had to make sacrifices in my own family in order to take this case and to try and get justice, Lowe told KTVB back in April of 2012.
At that same time, Lowe's lawyer, Erika Birch, said for the better part of the two years both sides had been focusing on a due process claim which she believes involves gender discrimination and bullying from powerful lawmakers at the Statehouse.
Pam was never given the opportunity to challenge her termination, Birch said. Now, regardless of these gender issues or the political motivation or the whistle-blower, all we have to do to be successful in this case is show that ITD didn't have a good reason to fire her.
Also back in April, Squires disagreed.
Ms. Lowe in our view was aware of the issues, Squires told KTVB. She did have opportunities to meet with the board and discuss the issues with the board, and was provided an opportunity to respond.
However, KTVB's political analyst says now both sides can now rest, because Lowe s battle with the state is over.
This is certainly a major victory for Pam Lowe and for all the little people that would take on any governmental decision that would reflect some arbitrary decision making, Adler said.