Court and sparks

You know the uptight and uncomfortable feeling that permeates an office when co-workers are having a dispute? Sure you do. Now imagine what it must be like when an employee sues her boss and others in federal court. That's the situation over at the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, where Deputy Court Administrator Kelli D. Moore has filed a sexual harassment suit against her boss, Bernard J. Kost. Also named are former Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly and current Chief Judge William J. Giovan, who are accused of allowing the harassment to continue.

The suit claims that "from December 2005 to present, Executive Court Administrator Kost has been, and is, sexually fixated on Plaintiff Moore, sexually harassing her and creating a sexually hostile environment, through his unwelcome, personal statements and acts ..." The list of alleged incidents — from claims of inappropriate gifts, comments and touching, to pressure to attend social functions and out-of-town events — fills pages and pages of the lawsuit. Kost is also accused of retaliating against Moore when she complained, first to officials at the Wayne County court, and then to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The feds, in March, issued Moore what's known as a "right to sue" letter. Given that green light, Moore's attorney, Alice B. Jennings, filed suit in Detroit's U.S. District Court earlier this month.

Calls to Kost and Giovan were not returned. We did talk with Elizabeth Hardy, who told us she was just retained by Kost on Monday, and was not yet familiar enough with the case to comment. As for the court, it looks like it will be represented by state Attorney General Mike Cox's office. Meanwhile, Cynthia Sherburn, in-house counsel for the court, says her office is investigating the matter.

This could get interesting.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]
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