Paula Corbin Jones (born Paula Rosalee Corbin; September 17, 1966) is a former Arkansas state employee who sued U.S. President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. The lawsuit was dismissed before trial on the grounds that Jones failed to demonstrate any damages. However, while the dismissal was being appealed, Clinton entered into an out-of-court settlement by agreeing to pay Jones $79,999.
Before the case reached trial, Judge Susan Webber Wright granted President Clinton’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Jones could not show that she had suffered any damages. Jones appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, where, at oral argument, two of the three judges on the panel appeared sympathetic to her arguments.
On November 13, 1998, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000, the entire amount of her claim, but without an apology, in exchange for her agreement to drop the appeal. Robert Bennett, Clinton’s attorney, still maintained that Jones’ claim was baseless and that Clinton only settled so he could end the lawsuit and move on with his life. In March 1999, Judge Wright ruled that Jones would only get $200,000 from the settlement and that the rest of the money would pay for her legal expenses. Before the end of the entire litigation, her marriage broke apart and she appeared in the news media to show the results of a nose job paid for by a donor.
Jones’ legal fund did not cover the attorneys’ fees, and Jones’s personal life was disrupted during the controversy: she was divorced by her husband, purchased a house after the settlement, and incurred a large tax bill, then posed nude forPenthouse magazine, claiming that she would use the money to pay the tax and fund her two grade-school-aged children’s college education.