One suit against Fani Willis ends, another continues

Atlanta DA Fani Willis answers questions for the press after the indictment of former President Trump and 18 others at Fulton County Courthouse on Monday, August 14, 2023 in Atlanta. (Michael Blackshire/Michael.blackshire@ajc.com)

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Atlanta DA Fani Willis answers questions for the press after the indictment of former President Trump and 18 others at Fulton County Courthouse on Monday, August 14, 2023 in Atlanta. (Michael Blackshire/Michael.blackshire@ajc.com)

One discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis by a former employee has been dismissed a year after it was filed, but another whistleblower suit remains active — and the ex-employee said she plans to re-file part of the dismissed suit.

U.S. District Judge William Ray agreed with a magistrate judge’s recommendation to dismiss a federal case filed by Amanda Timpson, who had sued Willis individually and the DA’s office in general.

Ray dismissed the accusations against Willis personally with prejudice, but without prejudice regarding the DA’s office in general.

A Friday statement from Timpson and her attorneys maintains that Willis violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Georgia Whistleblower Protection Act, and said Timpson will “aggressively pursue” those claims.

“Judge Ray ruled that this specific case should be litigated in state court as opposed to federal court,” it said. “As a result, we will be filing in state court.”

Willis’ office did not respond to requests for comment.

Timpson worked at the DA’s office as director of gang prevention and intervention from December 2018 to January 2022. She started under DA Paul Howard, whom Willis defeated in 2020.

Timpson claimed to discover financial mismanagement in two programs, and was subsequently demoted to file clerk. She also alleged one of Willis’ subordinates racially discriminated against her.

Timpson was eventually fired, which she blamed on discrimination and retaliation for her allegations. That’s when she began filing lawsuits against Willis.

At the time, a spokesperson for the DA’s office said Timpson was transferred within the office three times but management did not find a role she could fill. It was “inadequate” performance that led to her firing, the spokesperson said.

In August and October 2022 Timpson filed separate suits in Fulton County Superior Court against Willis and her office, one under the Georgia Whistleblower Act and one seeking monetary damages for “libel and defamation.” The latter was in response to an AJC article that included the statement from Willis’ office on Timpson’s termination.

In August 2023, the two cases in superior court were merged as being “substantially similar.” Timpson dropped her libel/slander claims from the remaining suit Nov. 2. Pre-trial hearings are scheduled through July 2024, but no trial date is set.

In December 2022 Timpson filed another case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Willis and her office, alleging discrimination, breach of contract and negligence. That’s the suit Ray dismissed Nov. 28.

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