Publisher Must Answer Questions in Discrimination Suit

By: A federal judge has ruled Times Leader owner and publisher Richard L. Connor must submit to further questioning by attorneys for former editor Allison Walzer, but the questions must be limited to issues pertaining to her discrimination suit against the newspaper.

The decision, issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James T. Giles, is in response to a protective order sought by Times Leader attorney Susan Valinis.

Valinis wanted to prohibit Walzer?s attorney, Neil Hamburg, from interviewing Connor a second time, arguing Hamburg had asked improper questions about Connor?s past during a deposition conducted on March 21.

Hamburg had grilled Connor about whether Connor had been involved in relationships with women with whom he had previously worked, or if he had ever been accused of sexually harassing female co-workers. Valinis had argued Connor?s past was irrelevant to Walzer?s discrimination claims. Hamburg maintained the questions were relevant because they pertained to Connor?s treatment of women in the workplace.

Giles? order limits Hamburg?s questioning of Connor to two hours and says Hamburg can only ask questions ?pertaining to plaintiff?s claims.?

Walzer?s suit, filed in federal court in Philadelphia, alleges Walzer was fired in January 2005 by then publisher Patrick McHugh because she is female and Jewish. Walzer is seeking to add a retaliation claim, alleging Connor, who purchased the paper last year, has refused to rehire her because of the suit.


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