Judge Denies Dismissal of Sex Harassment Suit
Case now moves on to discovery phase.
A judge has denied a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the city of Hyattsville by a former city police officer.
Marsha Lessard, who worked as a police officer in the Hyattsville Police Department from 2005 to 2009, filed a lawsuit in June alleging a pattern of sexually harassment and discriminatory behavior within the city's police department. Her lawsuit included allegations of sexual assault and charges that city police management were indifferent to her complaints. Lawyers for the city had filed a motion to dismiss Lessard's lawsuit back in August, saying that many of Lessard's claims were too old to be actionable.
In denying the city's motion to dismiss, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Judge J. Frederick Motz wrote that "in light of the allegations made by plaintiff concerning the manner in which she was treated in the workplace from July 2008 onward, it is necessary that a factual record be established before I determine whether plaintiff has sufficiently made out claims for hostile work environment and retaliation."
"The city's arguments were not going to hold up," said Michael Amster, Lessard's lawyer. "I'm not surprised that it's denied. I think that the judge realized that the allegations set out in the complaint were pretty extreme."
The case now moves on to the discovery phase, where lawyers for both sides will get to conduct research and depositions designed to bolster their case.
"We'll get to depose all of their witnesses and depose all of their employees and ask them a bunch of questions," said Amster. "Hopefully they'll be truthful with us."
Once discovery is completed, Amster said that he will probably file for summary judgement, asking the court to rule on the case without it going to trial. The process could still take months before the case is closed.
"It's going to be a while," said Amster.
A call to Jon Breads, Jr. the lawyer representing the city in this case, was not returned in time for this post.
The Case So Far:
- Former Hyattsville Cop Sues City in Sexual Harassment Case
- Lawyer: Hyattsville PD 'Ripe for Abuse'
- Council Weighs Police Corruption Training
- Police Measures Dominate Council Agenda
- Hyattsville Council Mum on Harassment Case
- Activist Calls Out City Leaders for Sex Harassment Response
- City Seeks Sexual Harassment Suit Dismissal
- Lessard Lawyers Ask Judge to Reject Motion to Dismiss Sex Harassment Case
- City Attorneys: Sexual Harassment Suit Has No Standing