Former Medical Examiner Andrea Minyard sues three Florida First Judicial Circuit counties, alleging sex-based discrimination.
Andrea Minyard, the former medical examiner for Florida’s First Judicial Circuit, has sued three of the four counties within the district she served, alleging her successor is being paid more than she was purely because he is a man.
The suit claims recently hired Medical Examiner Timothy Gallagher is being paid $350,000 annually while Minyard, who was more qualified and experienced, was paid $250,000 per year.
Attorneys representing Minyard sued in federal court under the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits employers from paying one worker more than another unless the decision to do so is made subject to seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production or “based on a factor other than sex,” the lawsuit states.
Minyard out as medical examiner
“The differential in pay between Dr. Minyard and Dr. Gallagher did not occur ... based on any factor other than sex,” it said.
It also states that Gallagher’s contract calls for him to be paid $1,250 for every autopsy over 63 he performs in a given quarter.
“Dr. Minyard never received the additional compensation of a per autopsy fee,” the lawsuit states.
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If Minyard wins her case against Escambia, Santa Rosa and Walton counties, as well as an umbrella organization called District One Medical Examiner Support Inc., she is entitled to recover the difference between her pay and that of Gallagher, the lawsuit states.
Okaloosa County was left out of the lawsuit. County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel credited the law firm of Nabors Giblin & Nickerson for adding language to a previous legal settlement with Minyard for saving the county “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Minyard ... can’t sue us because our attorney had the foresight to put it in the contract,” Ketchel said.
Okaloosa audit alleges numerous misuses of taxpayer money by medical examiner
The language preventing further legal action on the part of Minyard against Okaloosa County can be found in a settlement agreement and general release signed Aug. 29 of last year. In it, Minyard agrees to reimburse the county $122,000 in excess cremation fees she’d collected.
In the agreement, the county and Minyard’s office agreed to “waive, release, forever discharge and voluntarily covenant not to sue the other.”
“This release shall be a complete bar to, and release from, any and all claims that could otherwise be brought in the future,” the release said.
Minyard’s claim she received an annual salary of $250,000 was refuted in July of 2018 by Okaloosa County’s Inspector General who reported her salary for the prior year to have been $673,129.26.
The report, which laid out a case for a misuse of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds, said Minyard’s office received $1.14 million in professional fees during the same time period.
In January of 2019, at the urging of several elected officials serving the First Judicial Circuit, the state Medical Examiners Commission voted 8-1 not to forward a request for Minyard’s reappointment to her position to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The vote effectively ended Minyard’s 15-year tenure in the position.