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Bad news for Duckworth

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* Kerry Lester

The day before congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is scheduled to deliver a major speech on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention, two women who filed a workplace retaliation suit against her have announced they’re refusing to accept a settlement offer that seemed a done deal just weeks ago.

Now, a trial set to begin Aug. 15 in downstate Jonesboro could serve as an obstacle at an inopportune time for Duckworth as she enters the home stretch of her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in a nationally-watched race.

Plaintiffs Denise Goins and Christine Butler told the Daily Herald Wednesday that they were insulted by the Duckworth campaign’s June 24 response to the settlement, with deputy campaign manager Matt McGrath releasing a statement describing the suit as “a frivolous workplace case” that dragged on for more than eight years.

“Within an hour of leaving the courthouse, her campaign decided to swing us through the mud again,” Butler said. “So we emailed our attorney to let him know we want to proceed to trial.”

The women say they received no pressure from the Kirk campaign to reject the settlement offer.

“We are both nonpolitical people. When we initiated the very first formal complaint, we had no idea she had political aspirations,” Butler said. “We would have been happy to be done with it years ago.”

The Duckworth campaign shoulda just kept their mouths closed. They were handed a gift. Oh, well.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    If they would have been happy to be done with it years ago, they should have been ecstatic to be done with it weeks ago. Let it go.

  2. - John C. Fremont - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    This is just another example of clumsy and short-sighted campaign work by Congresswoman Duckworth’s campaign. Rich is absolutely right that her camp should have remained quiet after the two whistleblowers suprisingly agreed to settle the case earlier this summer. This is a debacle of the Duckworth campaign’s own making, and it comes with significant political ramifications.

  3. - John - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Finally, Duckworth will be held accountable for her actions.

  4. - Cousin Vinny - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    So- TD’s claim that the case was settled is false?

  5. - toby f. - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:04 pm:

    [This person’s comment has been deleted for violating the rule against sock puppetry.]

  6. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    If this campaign (and her track record in Congress, for that matter) is any indication, be prepared for six years of disappointment and disorganization from the junior Senator from Illinois…

  7. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:06 pm:

    The case was setteled by the AGs office. that said 75% of these kind of cases lose at trial. State worker suing under sex discrmination lose about 90% of these cases.

    so the decsision to go forward here may be bad for the employees who odds are will mow get nothing but a legal bill, statistically speaking.

  8. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:06 pm:

    ===“Within an hour of leaving the courthouse, her campaign decided to swing us through the mud again,” Butler said. “So we emailed our attorney to let him know we want to proceed to trial.”===

    This is something I can really respect. Very few folks want to see themselves be victims of character assassination after years of maintaining that they’ve been victims of workplace retaliation for doing what they thought was the right thing.

  9. - Downstate Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    Yet another example of Duckworth’s ineffective campaign in action. Staff arrogance is a killer.

  10. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===with deputy campaign manager Matt McGrath releasing a statement===

    How does this guy still have a job? They just snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory…again. It doesn’t matter how this trial goes. There’s a trial. So incredibly dumb.

  11. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:09 pm:

    Rule #1 - Never gloat until the paperwork is signed.
    Rule #2 - When in doubt see Rule #1.
    Rule #3 - If you shot off your mouth, be ready to make a bigger offer.

  12. - Leopold - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    [This person’s comment has been deleted for violating the rule against sock puppetry.]

  13. - toby f. - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:11 pm:

    [This person’s comment has been deleted for violating the rule against sock puppetry.]

  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    Tammy is not ready for prime time.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:23 pm:

    This is quite a line-up of anti-Tammy comments!

  16. - Fixer - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Another election year, another lawsuit involving someone running for office. Wonder it will be in 2018?

  17. - Seymourkid - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    This smells fishy. Someone has encouraged them to change their minds. They will settle for the same deal right after the election.

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:31 pm:

    Unless a court finds a lawsuit is actually frivolous, if you paid, it’s hard to claim it’s frivolous. Settlements usually require one thing to hold - keep your mouth shut.

  19. - Caitie - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:33 pm:

    Political corruption should be a capital offense.

  20. - Saluki - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:34 pm:

  21. - anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    this news explains the snarkiness from Rep. Duckworth today at the DNC…someone’s starting to feel the stress of running a campaign while also testifying at a trial…

  22. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    The docket sheet has not been updated since before the settlement conference and sill shows a bench trial for August 15. The plaintiffs did not place much value on their case at the settlement conference. They may feel insulted but that does not strengthen what they seemed to have thought then was a weak case.

  23. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    Ah, I love the sweet smell of karma on a warm summer day.

  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===They may feel insulted but that does not strengthen what they seemed to have thought then was a weak case.===

    An experienced litigator will generally consider any case that goes to court a coin flip, regardless of how good the case is. Settlements also dramatically reduce the costs to either party for attorneys. So, a settlement is generally a great way for both parties to reduce risk and to reduce potential costs incurred. That’s one of the reasons why they’re so frequent.

    One may have a great case, but when it goes to court there’s always the risk of losing.

    No one’s case is perfect and the attorney’s don’t necessarily make the best arguments.

  25. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    Another common item in settlements are what are called “non-disparagement clauses.” Basically, it means if we enter this settlement, I agree not to badmouth you publicly and you agree not to badmouth me. I don’t know if such an agreement was in place here, but I would certainly consider calling my client’s case frivolous publicly to be a violation.

  26. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    Who’s paying their bills? Follow the money.

  27. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    “Who’s paying their bills? Follow the money.”

    I’m going to guess no one. Probably taken on contingency.

  28. - Clark - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    I know us taxpayers are paying Duckworth’s bills…

  29. - Judgement Day - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    “This is quite a line-up of anti-Tammy comments!”

    I always try and remember a comment from our Fearless Leader (The Bearded One) a while back:

    “When you lose, say little. When you win, say less”.

    Tammy really needs to learn to adhere to that.

  30. - yinn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    For ordinary workers to initiate a lawsuit in the first place takes some guts, and a strong sense of injustice, and to have someone minimize even a perceived wrongdoing tends to activate. I once saw a redevelopment project get dismantled because a city official stated on record that the opposition was “minuscule.” I’ll bet “frivolous” triggers the same sorts of responses.

  31. - illinois bob - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:06 pm:

    So she’ll have to defend punishing whistle blowers trying to protect veterans from her incompetence? Terrible management, especially since the taxpayers were paying for HER mistake. just dumb….

  32. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:07 pm:

    As someone once observed about the Duckworth team: “Sometimes campaigns get so caught up in attacking their opponents that they forget the ultimate goal of the campaign, i.e. getting more votes. This appears to be another such occasion.”

    – MrJM

  33. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:08 pm:


    I like Duckworth, but she doesn’t appear to surround herself with the best campaign folks. I’ll probably still vote for her, but I hope–should she win–she will staff her Senate office with more competent individuals.

  34. - Responsa - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    Matt McGrath is not very good at his job. Once again we must ask, (as I did with a similar Duckworth campaign PR tweet foul-up), did Tammy approve the “frivolous” statement or does she even know/care what her campaign staff is up to? Either way it is reflecting poorly on Tammy and her judgement.

  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    A case going on for 8 years? The legal bills must be astronomical, in six figures. Who is paying the attorneys? This can’t be anything but political.

  36. - The_Equalizer - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:40 pm:

    Saying you want to continue with something you wanted ended “years ago” raises a few suspicious about political motivation. That being said, yeah, Duckworth’s team needed to put out a bland statement and move on. Don’t be Trump.

  37. - Responsa - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    == This can’t be anything but political.==

    Of course it’s political. AG Lisa Madagan tried to give Tammy a political gift right before the election. The Duckworth team forgot the old adage “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”.

  38. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:01 pm:

    In federal court settlement proceedings, the parties generally are required to make a record that the case is in fact settled. From that point on a judge can enforce the settlement.
    This is still very bad press for Duckworth who maybe deserves it from gloating. She will be convicted in public opinion, but still may never face a jury.

  39. - Sue - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:25 pm:

    Anon might be correct that the court could impose the so called agreement but judges are reluctant to deprive litigants of their day in court. Duckworth is really a weak nominee. The Dems would have been better off with almost anyone else. Duckworth comes off as a real prima donna

  40. - Liberty - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:28 pm:

    I truly hope justice is served for those who are fighting the political elite that think they can get away with crime.

  41. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:44 pm:

    This complaint has always been a joke. It was kept going purely for political reasons. These two may not be “political people” but those egging them on surely are.

  42. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 7:20 pm:

    “Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:44 pm:”

    Where’s your proof? You have none.

    Duckworth did wrong and it is only political in her side. These lady’s are ordinary people.

    It is not political that they were upset with what was said. It is no surprise that they would fight after what Tammy and her campaign did.

  43. - Union Thug Gramma - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 7:36 pm:

    Sure, no pressure from Kirk’s campaign…maybe whining from Kirk’s campaign? I put these 2 in the same category as the 3 who volunteered for Rauner to whine about union dues…would love to know how others who worked with these 2(cuz I think the Department is a bit larger than 2) feel about these 2…

  44. - Echo The Bunnyman - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:49 pm:

    I can’t believe people on here would attack the victims? There was something substantial enough for Duckworth to agree to a settlement. Put yourself in their shoes. You felt wronged. Then her campaign manager spiked the ball before an agreement was actually reached. Seriously folks, anything goes at trial. I give them alot of credit for standing up for themselves.

  45. - springfield cesspool - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 8:02 am:

    They filed the case in 2009, 3 years before she became an elected official. It may be a political case now, but at the time, she was nothing more than a Blagojevich appointee who had never been elected to anything.

  46. - Tinsel Town - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 8:31 am:

    Duckworth is a no clew political hack, who’s career was launched by O’Bama.

    Not discounting her service to our country, and her personal sacrifice, but neither make here a competent legislator.

  47. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 9:06 am:

    Actually Tinsel,
    Her career was launched by Dick Durbin and Rahm Emanuel, advanced by Rod Blagojevich and then promoted by Obama.

  48. - Union Thug Gramma - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Why would I “blame the alleged victims?” Because they didn’t follow proper procedure. It’s a union shop, there should have been a grievance filed…unless they were managerial staff. Also, why wasn’t it filed in EEOC? Nope, civil court.
    Why would Rep. Duckworth settle if she isn’t guilty? To get rid of the crap. They’ve tried to negotiate this since 2009…too many people believe Law and Order instead of real courtroom solutions. Many lawsuits are settled–costs less to settle, takes less time.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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