A former Pima County prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against the county attorney’s office, claiming her 2014 firing was a result of sexual discrimination.
Theresa Sheridan was fired from the Pima County Attorney’s Office in June 2014, after a Superior Court judge ruled Sheridan had exercised prosecutorial misconduct, according to documents from the Arizona Court of Appeals. The judge dismissed the related case.
She appealed her firing with the Pima County Merit System Commission, who upheld the decision, after which Sheridan took her case to court. Last November, the state court of appeals upheld the termination, court documents show.
In April 2015, Sheridan filed a charge of sex discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who sent Sheridan a letter in June 2016, saying that they were “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes,” according to the lawsuit Sheridan filed in Pima County Superior Court.
In the lawsuit, Sheridan claims her firing was a result of sexual discrimination by County Attorney Barbara LaWall, who is named in the suit.
Sheridan says there were at least two male deputy county attorneys who in the past had committed ethical violations worse than the one she was accused of, but were still allowed to remain employed. The two employees only resigned from the office after the State Bar of Arizona took action to revoke their licenses to practice law.
“Unlike the two male attorneys discussed above, at the time of Ms. Sheridan’s termination from employment … she had no pending or prior discipline regarding her license,” her lawsuit said.
The State Bar launched an investigation into Sheridan after she was placed on administrative leave in May 2014, but she agreed that December to a reprimand of costs, the lawsuit said.
Sheridan’s firing stemmed from an incident in which she took unredacted medical documents from a judge’s chamber, in what she said in the lawsuit was a mistake.
After returning the documents to the judge’s assistant, Sheridan didn’t tell her superiors, the defense counsel or the court about what had happened, according to appellate court records.
In the termination letter Sheridan received from LaWall, the county attorney alleged dishonesty in her handling of the records and the subsequent dismissal of the DUI case, the lawsuit said.
Sheridan’s lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount.
The county attorney’s office has previously told the Star it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.