Knoxville judge wins lawsuit brought by secretary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled against a woman who sued a Knox County judge, saying the judge was within his rights to fire her because of a state law that gives employers wide latitude to dismiss people.

The ruling stemmed from a case brought by Judith Moore-Pennoyer, who spent 18 years as an assistant to former Knox County Circuit Court Judge Harold Winberly. Wimberly lost in an election to William T. Ailor.

Court documents say Ailor fired the assistant one week before taking the bench, saying he wanted someone else to fill the position. Moore-Pennoyer sued afterward.

The Supreme Court, in its decision this week, said Tennessee’s employment-at-will doctrine generally allows employers to fire people at any time and that applies in this case.