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ABC News
ABC News
court reporter Jamelle Wells

John Barilaro, Stuart Ayres sued by senior public servant Jenny West, who missed out on plum US trade job

John Barilaro stepped aside from the US trade job after intense scrutiny. (AAP: James Gourley )

A woman suing former New South Wales ministers John Barilaro and Stuart Ayres says they knew she would suffer "reputational and economic damage" after withdrawing an offer for a controversial US trade commissioner job.

Senior public servant Jennifer West has filed a statement of claim in the NSW Supreme Court, arguing Mr Barilaro, Mr Ayres, and former Investment NSW boss, Amy Brown, have humiliated her by wrongfully exercising their authority. 

She is suing for misfeasance in public office, arguing she is entitled to aggravated damages for breach of contract and her pain and suffering. 

Ms West alleges that after she was offered the job by Ms Brown, it was withdrawn and sought by Mr Barilaro for his own personal benefit. 

Jennifer West has filed a statement of claim in the NSW Supreme Court. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

She alleges Mr Ayres and Ms Brown were influenced by politics in their collusion to withdraw the offer and the state of NSW is vicariously liable for "the acts, and omissions of Brown, Ayres and Barilaro".
Mr Ayers acted "for the purpose of enhancing his political career and to provide a benefit to John Barilaro" and Ms Brown acted "for the purpose of enhancing her position and career in the public service", according to the statement of claim. 

Ms West accuses the trio of withdrawing the job offer with full knowledge that she would suffer "reputational and economic damage" and of making "false representations" that she was no longer suitable for the role.

The scandal surrounding Mr Barilaro's appointment to the job plagued the NSW government for weeks last year. 

Stuart Ayres, who resigned as a minister over the incident, was cleared of any wrongdoing. (AAP: Jane Dempster)

Two investigations ordered by Premier Dominic Perrottet found Mr Barilaro and Mr Ayres did nothing wrong, but a Labor-led upper house inquiry found Ms West was treated unfairly and it was a case of "jobs for the boys". 

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) started investigating the matter last July, but was wound up earlier this month, due to insufficient evidence of corrupt conduct.

Ms Brown was sacked over the recruitment process. 

Mr Barilaro eventually stepped aside from the US trade job, after intense media scrutiny.

Mr Ayres who replaced him as trade minister then resigned from the ministry, but the premier has stated he would be reinstated as a senior minister if the Coalition is re-elected. 

Ms West's case against them is due to be heard in the NSW Supreme court next month. 

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