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7th Circuit affirms crime-lab ruling

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court's decision of summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis and Marion County in an appeal filed by a former employee of the county's Forensic Services Agency, or Crime Lab.

In Kelly S. Coolidge v. Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion County, 06-3587, Coolidge appealed the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, ruling, saying pornography she found created a hostile work environment and that she was fired from her job in retaliation for her previous lawsuit against her Crime Lab supervisor, David Willoughby, for sexual harassment.

Coolidge sued Indianapolis and Marion County, claming that Willoughby continued to sexually harass her after his retirement by leaving behind pornographic tapes where she would find them. She found two pornographic videos in the Crime Lab's videotape cabinet that were unlabeled, so she watched them to determine what was on the tape. She found they contained pornography, took the tapes to her attorney to copy for evidence, and several weeks later, notified her supervisor of the incident. Willoughby denied any knowledge of the tapes.

The 7th Circuit ruled Coolidge's finding of the tapes does not create a hostile work environment because her discovery and viewing of the tapes was brief and not particularly severe. There was no evidence to show the tapes were Willoughby's and that he left them behind to harass Coolidge.

Coolidge argued in her appeal that she was passed over for Willoughby's position and that it was given to a lesser-qualified candidate who did not have the education needed for the job. The successful job candidate was, in fact, more qualified in education and experience than Coolidge, and there is no proof to show she was passed over because of her previous lawsuit.

Finally, Coolidge contended she was reprimanded and subsequently fired in retaliation for her lawsuit. Her two reprimands and a third incident were cited as the basis for her firing. The reprimands included taking Crime Lab evidence from the premises to copy and for failing to take a blood sample from a rape kit exam.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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