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City Attorneys: Sexual Harassment Suit Has No Standing

City attorneys press judge to dismiss lawsuit filed against Hyattsville police department.

Lawyers for the city of Hyattsville have reiterated calls to filed against the city police department by one of its former officers. 

In court documents filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, city attorneys pushed their argument that the former police officer, Marsha Lessard, waited too long to file her complaint.

The filing by city attorneys comes after  

Lessard's lawsuit, filed in late June, . Lessard also alleges that she was retaliated against when she complained to her superiors and filed a complaint with county and federal human rights regulatory agencies over her treatment on the force. 

In July, The city argued that, by law, the court could not consider any complaints which occurred more than 300 days before she filed her lawsuit. They also argued that Lessard failed to connect her allegations of retaliation to her pursuit of an initial sexual harassment complaint back in June of 2009. 

But Lessard's attorneys argued that her allegations were part of a "c. In sexual harassment cases where a continuing violation situation is upheld by the court, defendants may not be protected by the 300 day limit. 

But in their filing last week, city attorneys said that Lessard did not invoke any of the proper arguments to avoid the time limit. 

"None are available to her" reads the memo filed by city attorneys, who noted that Lessard had lawyers guiding her through the initial stages of her sexual harassment complaint. Those lawyers, argued city attorneys, should have been aware of the 300 day filing limit. 

"Someone who retains legal counsel to assist and guide her before, during and after the administrative process, cannot later be heard to say the equities excusing untimeliness are in her favor," reads the memo from city attorneys. "They are not."

But, with Lessard's attorneys arguing a continuing violation, city attorneys said last week that she failed to allege any acts in her original 2009 administrative complaint which contributed to a hostile work environment within the 300 day limit. 

Lessard's lawsuit, filed after her case went through administrative review by the county, does contain allegations which fell within the 300 day limit. Her lawyers have accused the city of ignoring those complaints in their motion to dismiss. 

Now, the case heads back to U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz for him to decide on the city's motion to dismiss. A ruling is expected within the next month.

Corey Somers September 05, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I have had nothing but positives with the police dept. In Hyattsville. Most law abiding citizens feel the same. They are a bunch of caring men and women who has a dedication to the citizens of Hyattsville. I have seen first hand their interactions with the public and commend them on keeping a level head in a stressful situation.
Corey Somers September 05, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I think the police dept is a highly respected group of men and women by most law abiding citizens. To know each of these officers has been a privilege for me and my family. They care about the citizens well being and go above and beyond their pay requirements.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter September 06, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I too have have had only positive experiences with Hyattsville PD. They have responded in minutes to the calls I've made. It seems as if they have their hands full dealing with the scum walking the streets and don't bother harassing the outstanding citizens, which is more than I can say for College Park PD who totally have an ego problem. I don't personally care if they crack jokes about girls or slap asses or whatever, all that matters is that they keep us safe and don't abuse their power. As far as the plaintiffs case being dismissed, maybe it will save the city some money in their insurance premiums.
Michael Theis September 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
One minor quibble HCBB: College Park doesn't have a city police force. The University of Maryland does, though. But most year-round residents in College Park (former Berwyn resident here) never have any dealings with UMPD. College Park is, however, patrolled by county officers.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter September 07, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Good to know, it definitely the ones on campus who harassed and ticketed me and lied in traffic court.

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