Telegram & Gazette


Southbridge Woman Files Sex-For-Jobs Suit

By Bill Fortier

Apr 21, 1999

BOSTON - A Southbridge woman has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against a union, its Auburn-based local, and its business agent.

Pamela J. Corey filed a 36-count, 84-page lawsuit March 2 against James M. Porter, business manager of Local 243 of the Laborers' International Union; the Massachusetts Laborers' Council for the Laborers' International Union of North America, based in Hopkinton; Laborers' International Union of North America, based in Washington, D.C.; and Laborers' International Union of North America Local 243, based in Auburn.

The lawsuit alleges that Porter, of Brookfield, demanded sex in exchange for work assignments over a period of years. Corey's lawsuit is almost identical to one filed Feb. 1 in U.S. District Court by Ruth Ann Niemeyer of Sturbridge, who also alleged Porter demanded sex in exchange for work assignments.

Both women are construction workers.

Both lawsuits were filed by lawyers Michael R. Pizziferri of Boston and John P. LeGrand of Somerville. LeGrand was the lawyer when the case was before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in Springfield.

Alan Cassella, a compliance officer in the Springfield office of the MCAD, said recently the agency issued a probable cause ruling last August on behalf of Niemeyer and Corey on their claims against Porter that are now detailed in the lawsuits. Casella said people can seek a settlement through either the MCAD or the courts, but not both. The two women chose to pursue a settlement through the courts and the cases were closed by the MCAD Jan. 22, Casella said.

Porter denied any wrongdoing when the case was in front of the MCAD.

Niemeyer is seeking $2.5 million. Pizziferri said Corey is seeking "basically" the same amount.

The cases have been referred to U.S. District Court Justice Robert E. Keeton. Pizziferri said yesterday he didn't know whether the cases would eventually be considered at the same time.

No court dates have been set, as of yesterday. A spokesman in the U.S. District Court's office said responses by lawyers representing the defendants have to be in by April 28. Pizziferri said Theodore Green, a lawyer with the Laborers' International Union of North America, based in Washington,

D.C., recently filed a 12-page response to both Corey and Niemeyer's allegations. Green did not return a telephone call yesterday seeking comment.

The spokesman in the clerk's office said responses to both cases were filed March 24 by a lawyer for the Hopkinton-based union. The spokesman did not have the lawyer's name. Philip T. Leader, who has been representing Porter, did not return a telephone call seeking comment on latest developments.

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