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Lilly must produce files from noose incident

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Eli Lilly & Co. must produce documents related to the handling of a noose being found in an area its employees frequent for discovery in a separate suit alleging discrimination in the company.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of Indiana's Southern District Tuesday granted the plaintiff's motion to compel discovery relating to a 2008 noose incident near Eli Lilly in the case Cassandra Welch, et al. v. Eli Lilly & Co., No. 1:06-cv-0641.

Cassandra Welch and three other employees filed two proposed class-action complaints in April 2006 against the drug maker alleging discrimination throughout the workforce regarding pay, discipline, promotions, and other areas, and that incidents of racial harassment and intimidation resulted in a hostile work environment. According to the complaint, Welch once found a dark-colored doll with a noose around its neck on her desk. The second complaint alleges Lilly discourages investigations that uncover evidence of race discrimination and covers up such incidents.

The documents at question in this case involve a February 2008 incident in which contract security officer Dawn Johnson saw a rope in a tree with a hangman's noose on the end of it near a parking garage associated with Lilly. Johnson reported the incident to supervisors and claimed she wasn't contacted by any Lilly employee until a month later, after Welch made her complaint to the FBI.

Lilly objected to the discovery request saying it was overbroad and burdensome, and wanted information that wasn't relevant to the subject matter of Welch's suits.

Magistrate Magnus-Stinson rejected Lilly's arguments that the information about the February 2008 incident was irrelevant. The critical issue is not whether any Lilly employee was involved in the incident but rather the company's response to the incident. Welch and others have alleged a hostile work environment and that Lilly has failed to respond to or covered up past incidents of a hostile nature and Lilly's response to this incident is relevant to that claim, wrote the magistrate.

Lilly also feared the information would be used to publicize and sensationalize the suit, citing two press releases issued regarding the incident. Counsel for the plaintiffs assured that any documents produced would be protected pursuant to terms of a protective order in place.

Magistrate Magnus-Stinson ordered Lilly to produce the requested documents by Jan. 30.

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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