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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. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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