Des Moines settles race discrimination and workers' comp lawsuits
Des Moines has settled more than $225,000 worth of legal claims since October, according to documents obtained by Axios through public record requests.
- Here's a breakdown of the cases that involve settlements of $10,000 or more.
Clifford Watkins: $50,000 linked with a lawsuit alleging that he was wrongfully denied promotion and discriminated against based on his race and a physical disability.
- Watkins, who is Black, alleged that in 2014, coworkers in the city's Public Works Department threw a banana peel at his feet and called him a monkey, according to a lawsuit.
- The city denied the allegations in its legal response.
Of note: Watkins still works for the city as an equipment operator.
Jason Rincon: $20,000 linked with a claim from a 2019 neck injury while working for the city as a sewer cleaning equipment operator, a position he still holds.
- DSM also paid a nearly $31,000 settlement to Rincon in 2012 for a neck and back injury.
Gordon Trenhaile: $15,000 linked with a claim that he suffered hearing loss while working in street maintenance, which included operating a jackhammer.
- He retired from the city in 2018.
Juan Sarceno: $18,000 linked with a claim from a 2019 back injury while working as a garbage collector. He is no longer employed with the city.
Accidents involving city vehicles
- Richie Paz: $75,000 linked with a March 2020 accident involving a DSM police squad car.
- Kayte Bohrn: $33,000 for an accident in June of 2020.
Miriam Setaro: $10,500 for a personal injury accident involving a minor on the Union Park rocket slide in September 2018.
- A gap in the slide exposed screws that injured the minor, according to a lawsuit in the case.
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