Court denies ex-worker's motion for protective order in her age, sex discrimination suit against Lohr Distributing

By Charmaine Little | Feb 6, 2019

ST. LOUIS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently denied a motion for a protective order filed by a former Lohr Distributing Co. employee in her age and sex discrimination suit against the company. 

In a Jan. 31 filing, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Bodenhausen also partially granted Lohr's motion for sanctions against the former employee, Robin Hurlburt. 

In her suit against Lohr, Hurlburt claimed that Cory Wallis terminated her after she suffered workplace intimidation, court filings said.

Hurlburt sought a protective order against Wallis claiming she and her counsel insisted that Wallis not be present during her deposition because Wallis allegedly was the ringleader in harassing her. After Hurlburt failed to attend because of Wallis’ presence, Lohr requested sanctions against he.

The court denied Hurlburt's motion for the protective order, saying Hurlburt never mentioned in her complaint that she had an issue or was intimidated by Wallis, aside from saying he was the one who fired her.

“In written discovery, (she) never identified Wallis as a perpetrator of any alleged acts of harassment which plaintiff alleges she was subjected to during her employment with defendant,” the court filing said, pointing out that Hurlburt failed to prove she had any just cause for filing a request for a protective order. 

The court also said Hurlburt didn’t file her motion until after the first scheduled deposition. The court subsequently ordered a rescheduled deposition and Hurlburt could be subject to sanctions if she’s a no-show.

The court also granted in part and denied in part sanctions the defendant requested. “According to Rule 37(d), a party’s failure to attend her own properly noticed deposition constitutes grounds for sanctions,” the court said. The court ordered Hurlburt to pay the costs for attorney’s fees from the deposition that was previously scheduled.

In her first amended complaint, Hurlburt said she experienced harassment and intimidation from her supervisor, Terry Moore, who allegedly told her to “shut up” several times. He also allegedly said she “can always lay on (her) back to make extra money” and indicated that if he were a woman, he’d be a prostitute, court filings said. Hurlburt was also called “stupid and old,” according to the lawsuit. 

On the day Hurlburt's deposition was scheduled, she found out Wallis was to attend as the corporate representative. Her lawyer said Hurlburt didn’t feel comfortable with that and claimed that Wallis was the one who harassed, intimated and sexually demeaned Hurlburt. Hurlburt decided not to move forward with the deposition, so the defendant filed a motion for sanctions against her.

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