The Third Circuit Court of Appeal has reversed a summary judgment granted to a Lafayette law firm in a civil suit brought by a former receptionist who accused one of the firm’s owner/partners of raping her. Attorney Scott Hawkins of Hawkins & Villamarette pleaded guilty in December 2008 to a lesser felony charge of second-degree battery and was given a five-year suspended sentence. Hawkins is currently under suspension by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board and cannot practice law.
The civil suit, brought by the former female employee known only as J.K. in court papers, accuses the law firm of liability in the crime, citing a promiscuous, libidinous culture within the firm. A Lafayette judge dismissed the suit, but the appeals court reversed that judgment and remanded the case to district court for further proceedings.
Eye-opening accusations made in the appeal include testimony from former employees who described an office culture awash in alcohol and bristling with sexual innuendo, and a culture in which female employees considered themselves under siege by Hawkins’ booze-fueled sexual advances:
Some former employees testified that the term “drunk Fridays” was used to describe Friday afternoons at the firm. Former employees also testified that there was a sauna located in the office and Hawkins would walk through the firm’s office during business hours from the sauna to his individual office wrapped in a towel and that he made sexually-provocative comments and overtures to employees, including the plaintiff. Employee testimony further shows that some former employees feared Hawkins and felt his temper and his “drinking problem” endangered them.
Click here to read the full Third Circuit opinion, which includes even more graphic testimony from a former employee who details an encounter involving the sauna, a shower and an act derived from the Latin word fellatus.
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OCT 1 Bobby Jindal is sure doing his best to court the far right; this post on TIME magazine says he'll be over in Oklahoma today to stand beside the billionaires who own Hobby Lobby while they announce a Bible "museum." In Washington D.C. (Wonder if there will be an exhibit on Matthew 19:24?)
OCT 1 Blogger Ian McGibboney is taking a look at the penalty call that is causing a stir. During a Monday NFL game, a player for the Chiefs executed a Muslim prayer gesture following a touchdown. The NFL has announced that the call was wrong, but Ian's not so sure.
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OCT 1 Blogger Mike Deshotels is outlining the flaws he sees in the so-called "Value Added Model" of teacher evaluation. It basically seeks to pay teachers according to how their students do on tests. (Sure hope they don't start using that model for doctors!) He's got a lot of information here, not just about the plan but about the people involved - and their history.
OCT 1 Columnist Jim Beam breaks down the difference between ISIS and ISIL, along with origins of each group and what has been reported about them over the years. It's a good clear primer if you're one of those continually confused by the names being thrown around.
OCT 1 Blogger Tom Aswell brings us up to date on the latest mess surrounding the Office of Group Benefits, which handles health insurance for state employees. It ain't pretty, and it has left Tom pleading for anyone who might be remotely competent in the Division of Administration to get in touch with him.
OCT 1 Look out! Some enterprising individual, who knows how to register a domain, has pulled off a stunning bit of hilarity here. Not long ago, blogger Lamar White Jr. gave us a post on Louisiana Family Forum, and how it is not a charity but is instead a tax shelter for a lobby. If you go to the interwebs and type in "louisianafamilyforum.com" you will find Lamar's story. Heh.
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