KGVO News has learned that attorneys for Josh Clark, the former Undersheriff of the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, offered a proposed settlement through the Montana Human Rights Bureau of nearly $1 million, but said they would settle for damages of $750,000.

Clark, who lost the election last November to T.J. McDermott, claimed discrimination by Sheriff McDermott, which resulted in Clark's early retirement. A document prepared by Clark's attorneys, Rhoades and Siefert, to Clarice Beck of the Montana Human Rights Bureau state:

Clark offers to settle his claims and withdraw the enclosed filed complaint from the Human Rights Bureau for the sum of $750,000.00.

We base this demand on the following;

he Human Rights Bureau may award damages to Clark in any reasonable measure to rectify harm he suffered.Mont.Code Ann. § 49-2-506(1)(b). The purpose of an award of damages in an employment discrimination case is to ensure that the victim is made whole. P. W. Berry v. Freese, 239 Mont.183, 779 P. 2d 521, 523 (1989); Dolan v. School District No. 10,195 Mont. 340, 636 P.2d 825, 830 (1981); accord, Albermarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422U.S.405,95 S.Ct. 2362 (1975).

A charging party who has proved a human rights violation has a presumptive entitlement to an award of back pay. Dolan, supra. Back pay awards should redress the full economic injury the charging party suffered to date because of the unlawful conduct. Rasimas v.Mich.Dpt. Ment. Health, 714 F.2d 614, 626, (6th Cir. 1983). Back pay is computed from the date of the discriminatory act until the date of the final judgment. EEOC v. Monarch Tool Co., 737F.2d 1444, 1451-53 (6th Cir. 1980).

The charging party may also recover for losses in future earnings, if the evidence establishes that future losses are likely to result from the discriminatory acts.

Martinell, op.cit. Front pay is an amount granted for probable future losses in earnings, salary and benefits to make the victim of discrimination whole when reinstatement is not feasible; front pay is only temporary until the charging party can reestablish a “rightful place” in the job market. Sellers v.DelgadoComm.College, 839 F.2d 1132 (5th Cir. 1988), Shore v. Federal Expr.Co., 777 F.2d 1155, 1158 (6th Cir. 1985); see also, Hearing Aid Institute v. Rasmussen, 258Mont. 367, 852 P.2 628 (1993). Prejudgment interest on lost income is also a proper part of the damages award. P.W. Berry, op. cit., 779 P.2d at 523; Foss v. J.B. Junk, HR No. SE84-2345(1987).

If Clark had not been forced out of the office, he planned to retire after five more years. In that time, accounting for annual increases of 2.5%, he would have earned $383,581.

In addition, the document (see attached) states that Clark also lost sick pay, vacation pay. and is owed for emotional distress damages, for which he is being seen by a physician. The document concludes with the following;

Clark’s reasonably certain damages come to $974,477.71 plus interest.

Clark would like to avoid a lengthy and tiresome effort of continued litigation. Therefore,Clark will compromise his claim and withdraw the Human Rights complaint for the sum of $750,000.00. This offer is made to help everyone avoid the burden of a hearing and further litigation. An amicable resolution will obviously better serve all parties.

The county is reviewing all the documents, but no action has yet been taken.