Suit against McGraw settled

John O'Brien May 3, 2007, 3:00pm


CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Some of that money earned on behalf of West Virginia consumers will go to pay off a lawsuit against Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

McGraw has agreed to pay more than $125,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Debra Lynn Whanger, who said she was defamed by Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes on a radio show, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Whanger filed her suit in 2005 and alleged that Hughes referred to her as a "cancer that had to be removed from the office" just after she was fired in August 2004.

Hughes, according to the report, was upset that Whanger ordered $141,815 worth of pens, pillboxes and other promotional items with McGraw's name on them without having the authority to do so.

Whanger, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates, claims she was told to make the order. Whanger later changed her slander charge to a claim that her termination violated public policy.

The report says $3,774 has been paid to the outside counsel defending McGraw, Bailey and Glasser of Charleston. More billings are expected.

McGraw settled after motioning for summary judgment.

"Ms. Whanger's attempts to implicate others in her purchase do not provide her a legal defense," the March 7 motion said, according to the report. "The plaintiff, when invited to do so, could not provide any casual link, retaliatory or not, between her termination and any violation of the public policies."

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