Two employees sued the state, stating they were retaliated against for not shredding documents.

A settlement has been reached in a federal whistle-blower lawsuit against the state by two employees of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention who claim they were retaliated against after they refused to shred public documents.

Attorneys for the two employees, Sharon Leahy-Lind and Katie Woodbury, and the state reached an agreement during a settlement conference in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday before Judge Nancy Torresen, according to court records.

The terms of the settlement agreement, however, have not been made public and the two sides have agreed to keep the terms confidential.

Attorney Cynthia Dill, who represented Leahy-Lind and Woodbury in the case, acknowledged in a brief phone call that a settlement had been reached, but she declined to comment further.

“I can’t talk about it, though,” Dill said. “The parties agreed to strict confidentiality.”

An attorney hired to represent the state, Eric Uhl of the Portland law firm Fisher and Phillips, also declined to talk about the terms of the settlement agreement.

“I can’t give you any comment or details. It’s confidential,” Uhl said. “We’re still finalizing the agreement, so there is no final written agreement.”

Neither Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage, nor David Sorensen, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC, returned phone messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Court records indicate that Torresen ordered the lawyers to complete the settlement within 30 days from Monday and to file a stipulation by then to dismiss the lawsuit.

In 2013, Leahy-Lind, who was director of the CDC’s Division of Local Public Health, disclosed that she was ordered by her superiors to shred documents related to competitive grant awards in the Healthy Maine Partnerships program.

The documents shed light on irregularities and possible illegal activity in the way certain grants were awarded.

Leahy-Lind said she was harassed and defamed for not complying with the order. Her allegations were detailed last year in a complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Another federal judge ruled in September that the lawsuit against the state could go forward and allowed Woodbury to be added to the case as a plaintiff. Woodbury still works for the Maine CDC.

The Sept. 19 order by U.S. District Judge George Singal also added Christine Zukas, the CDC deputy director, and Lisa Sockabasin, director of the Office of Health Equity, as defendants, alongside CDC Director Sheila Pinette. The complaint also names the CDC, a division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the complaint, after Leahy-Lind refused to shred the documents, she was repeatedly ordered to discipline a disabled minority employee allegedly being targeted by Zukas and Sockabasin. She alleged that she was threatened in an effort to keep her from talking about the manipulation of grant applications.

The situation caused her anxiety and made it difficult for her to breathe, the lawsuit alleges. Leahy-Lind took a medical leave, and when she returned, her hours and duties were restricted. She was placed on administrative leave when she announced she would return to work, according to the lawsuit.

Zukas, Sockabasin and Pinette also are accused of mounting a public campaign to discredit Leahy-Lind by calling her a safety threat and falsely commenting on her mental health, according to the complaint.

“Leahy-Lind has alleged more than mere insults by Pinette, Zukas and Sockabasin,” Singal wrote in the September order. “Instead, the amended complaint reveals a campaign to discredit her and break her down. Each individual action on its own may be a mere nuisance, but taken as a whole, the message was clear: Leahy-Lind was being punished for exercising her First Amendment rights.”

Woodbury, a CDC office manager, also claimed she was retaliated against and defamed for comments she made to the Lewiston Sun Journal backing up Leahy-Lind’s claims.

According to the complaint, Zukas and Sockabasin refused to speak to or look at Woodbury. Although emails between them were professional, Woodbury claims interactions were hostile.

Dill said in September that Leahy-Lind hoped to get her state job back. She and Woodbury are seeking compensation, punitive damages, legal fees and a declaration that they acted in a lawful manner, Dill said at the time.

“There’s no dollar figure,” Dill said in her September statement to the Portand Press Herald. “It’s to hold people accountable and vindicate (Leahy-Lind and Woodbury) in the eyes of the public.”

The state sought to have the case dismissed, but Singal ruled that the defamation and First Amendment retaliation claims could proceed.

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