DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — A Houston County jury has awarded a woman half a million dollars from her former employer after she claimed he had her arrested on false charges and slandered her name.
The jury awarded Gayla White a total of $500,000 in compensatory damages from her former employer, John Donaldson.
This came after White filed a lawsuit against Donaldson in 2021.
In 2018, White was accused and later acquitted, of stealing deposits from the wedding venue she worked, Windmill Station, between the month of November 2017 and June 2018.
According to court documents, in June 2018, after requesting multiple times for tax documents and Donaldson becoming angry and threatening, White turned in her job notice.
Documents state that during the last event she worked, Donaldson grabbed her arm as she was leaving and told her that he would press charges for stealing if she did not return a calendar that allegedly belonged to her.
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A few days after the last event, White was arrested and charged with the theft of $2,700, the same amount that was claimed to be stolen from the venue deposits.
White was later found not guilty of the crime in April 2021 and that June, she filed a lawsuit against Donaldson.
In the lawsuit, White claimed that from the time of her arrest to her acquittal at trial, Donaldson made claims and gave reports to the media that were defamatory and untrue, and because of this she feared that future employment would be denied.
White also says that due to malicious prosecution, she suffered embarrassment, great worry, shame, humiliation, loss of sleep, anxiety, nervousness, physical and mental suffering, anguish, and fright.
She originally demanded $1,000,000 in compensatory damages and $3,000,000 in punitive damage.
White was a former Dothan City Schools board member.