Case Dismissed After Staffer Tries to Bribe Witness
A federal judge has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms employee, citing the staffer’s attempts to tamper with witnesses and refusal to comply with various court orders.
“[T]he Court finds that there is clear and convincing evidence of misconduct by the plaintiff and that any sanction short of dismissal would be inadequate,” U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wrote in an Aug. 22 ruling.
Renee Young, fired in 1997 after working for 18 years as a bindery specialist in the Sergeant-at-Arms office, asserted in her lawsuit that she was subject to a “hostile work environment,” including sexual harassment, which caused her to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
Young, who could not be reached for comment, filed the lawsuit in 1998. Since 1999, she has not been represented by an attorney in the case.
In his decision, Friedman cited Young’s refusal to comply with two separate 1999 court orders to produce her medical records and her refusal to cooperate with an independent medical exam.
“As a result, defendant argues, plaintiff has delayed the progress of her own case, interfered with the SAA’s ability to defend itself, wasted judicial resources and demonstrated disrespect for the judicial process,” Friedman wrote.
Young submitted only six pages of medical records, and did not include information from any of the doctors she consulted both before and after the alleged harassment. [IMGCAP(1)]
“[I]n an August 6, 1999 session with one of her doctors — only two days after the Court ordered plaintiff to produce her medical records — Young specifically asked the psychiatrist not to send any of her medical records to her lawyers,” the judge wrote.
During the second of two independent medical exams conducted by psychiatrist Glenn Miller, Young refused to answer basic questions, asserting that she “had complied with the requirement of meeting with Dr. Miller simply by showing up.”
Citing testimony from an October 2000 evidentiary hearing, Friedman also noted Young’s attempts to tamper with two potential witnesses.
In one instance, Young’s brother, Herbert Dozier Jr., allegedly offered to pay Sergeant-at-Arms employee Ray Lucas $50,000 to testify on Young’s behalf and falsely implicate three employees for sexual harassment.
Friedman explained: “Based on the testimony of Mr. Dozier, Mr. Lucas and Ms. Young herself, the Court must conclude that plaintiff was a full participant in an illegal attempt to bribe a witness in this case in exchange for false testimony.”
Young was also accused of attempting to influence another former co-worker, James Davis, by directing him to testify about specific instances of sexual harassment, although he had not actually witnessed them.
“Ms. Young did not deny asking Mr. Davis to report these things to the Senate,” the judge wrote. In her motion for non-dismissal, Young states that Davis “changed his story” while testifying.
Although Friedman could have selected a variety of sanctions — including monetary fines, protective orders prohibiting Young from speaking with Sergeant-at-Arms employees or barring of evidence — the judge stated: “the Court concludes that the severity of the plaintiff’s misconduct and the inadequacy of lesser sanctions justify dismissal of this case in its entirety.”