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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues