By Bill Fortier
Apr 21, 1999
- 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.