CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former Mingo County judge Michael Thornsbury may soon be sued by his own niece and a county magistrate for creating a hostile work environment.
The magistrate, Deloris "Dee" Sidebottom, also plans to sue Thornsbury and former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks for sexual harassment, and Sparks for a hostile work environment.
Sidebottom gave a 30-day notice last month to the Mingo County Commission, as Sparks' former employer, and the state Supreme Court, as Thornsbury's former employer. People are required by state law to give public agencies 30 days' notice before suing them.
Candice Harper also gave notice last month that she plans to sue the former judge. Harper is Thornsbury's niece and former secretary, according to her attorney, Mike Callaghan. She now works in Sidebottom's office.
Sparks and Thornsbury both resigned last year as part of plea deals with federal prosecutors.
The two former longtime county officials admitted their roles in keeping Delbarton resident George White quiet about allegedly providing prescription painkillers to the county's ex-sheriff.
Sparks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, depriving White of his constitutional rights in federal court. Thornsbury pleaded guilty to a felony, conspiring to deprive White of his constitutional rights. They are both awaiting sentencing.
Callaghan's firm, Neely & Callaghan, plan to file the lawsuits. Della Cline-Gentile is joining them to represent Sidebottom.
"We believe we have a strong civil action," Callaghan said.
Thornsbury's attorney, William Slicer, said in a statement Wednesday "the lawsuits are false and will waste the state's money."
"Ms. Harper hasn't spoken to Mike in years since he disciplined her for misuse of a Supreme Court computer, tardiness, and inappropriate behavior with another employee," Slicer said.