Judge rules LRC must produce discovery in sexual harassment lawsuit

09/25/2014 05:53 PM

The Legislative Research Commission must provide more comprehensive discovery to attorneys for two staffers suing the agency in its handling of their sexual harassment allegations against a former lawmaker, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate wrote in an order the LRC must “supplement the vague discovery responses” it has given Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who is representing LRC employees Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper in their lawsuit against the agency and former Democratic Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis. Wingate also ruled against Clay’s motion to sanction LRC attorneys for deficient discovery responses.

Wingate’s order can be accessed here: LRC lawsuit order.pdf

Costner, an advisor to House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, and Cooper, an aide to House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, have accused Arnold of sexual harassment and the LRC of mishandling their complaints.

David Ward, an attorney for the women alongside Clay, said the LRC will be unable to appeal Wingate’s decision. Leslie Vose, a Lexington attorney representing the agency, could not be reached for comment.

Wingate’s order also seemed to imply “the LRC can be held liable for John Arnold’s actions,” Ward said.

Ward and Clay said they have yet to see the agency’s investigation into Costner and Cooper’s claims of sexual harassment against Arnold.

The attorneys also seek more information into other investigations involving Arnold.

“The LRC’s done investigations with that, and they should have files,” Ward said. “There’s other legislators and LRC employees who have reported sexual harassment and hostile work environment, and they’ve done investigations on those. They objected to almost everything that we requested.”

Clay added: “Thus far the only thing they’ve done is delay, obfuscate and try to hide.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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