Former Arundel employee makes second try to join Leopold suit

Joan M. Harris' initial claims were dismissed because they were improperly filed, judge said

May 13, 2011|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

A former Anne Arundel County employee who was blocked from joining a $10 million gender discrimination and workplace retaliation lawsuit against County Executive John R. Leopold has again asked a federal judge to consider her case.

John M. Singleton, the attorney who is representing former employee Karla R. Hamner, filed legal papers to add Joan M. Harris, also a former employee, to the suit. Yesterday, the judge presiding over the case gave Singleton the green light to proceed on some of the allegations, though several were dismissed. The judge also dismissed the addition of two former employees to the suit, including Harris. But the judge ruled that Harris' claims were dismissed because they were improperly filed, and gave Singleton 14 days to refile.

Harris' new complaint alleges she was unlawfully fired for assisting Hamner and the other employee with their claims. Harris' complaint names Leopold, Dennis Callahan, the county's chief operating officer, and Erik Robey, Leopold's chief of staff, as defendants.

The county attorney did not return a call seeking comment, but has called the lawsuit "frivolous"

"The case has been refiled on the merits and the truth surrounding my employment with the county executive," said Harris. "I look forward to continuing this legal process and getting justice for my myself, Miss Hamner and all women."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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