LAS CRUCES — State District Judge Marci E. Beyer on Wednesday signed off on a final verdict in the Kim Stewart case, approving damages against the county that total more than $1.5 million.
Stewart, a former Doña Ana County internal affairs investigator, was awarded slightly more than $1.2 million in July after a jury determined county officials violated her rights under New Mexico’s Human Rights Act and Whistleblower Protection Act.
Stewart in 2010 was fired from the county, and she contended she was dismissed in retaliation for conducting an investigation of Curtis Childress, who was accused of discriminating against Hispanic and African-American workers in the county’s animal control and codes enforcement department.
The jury, in part, found that retaliation was a motivating factor in Stewart’s termination. It also concluded that county officials subjected Stewart to a hostile work environment after she reported and filed complaints of discrimination and retaliation, which is legally protected under the two laws.