Madison County secretary demands documents in sexual harassment suit

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 10, 2008, 10:40am

A secretary's sexual harassment lawsuit against Madison County demands that documents be turned over within five days of a court order.

Robin Beem, who alleges she was exposed to pornography in a federal lawsuit filed Sept. 18, 2007, filed a motion to compel April 3 asking the court to order the county to produce discovery documents.

Beem alleges former Madison County Administrator Jim Monday, who retired in March 2006 after 20 years on the job, would expose her to extreme, graphic, and debasing computer/Internet pornography on a daily or near daily basis.

Her attorney, Lee Barron of Alton, claims that prior to the suit being filed he served a request for production of documents upon the county on Nov. 30, 2006 and on Dec. 28, 2006, the county responded but failed to produce the documents.

Barron also claims in a letter dated Jan. 14, 2007, he made an effort to resolve the outstanding discovery disputes but the county has not complied with or provided the documents requested pursuant to Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

According to court documents, Barron asked the county to produce Beem's personnel file, the county's sexual harassment policy and all documents that reflect that the county took prompt remedial measures upon receipt of any complaint of sexual harassment or pornography in the work place.

Barron also asked the county to produce:

  • Any and all documents that reflect why Monday's employment with the county came to an end;

  • Any and all documents that reflect that Monday allegedly viewed pornography while employed by the county;

  • Any and all documents that reflect that Beem reported an employee's use of pornography to one or more of the county's managers, supervisors, directors and administrators;

  • Monday's complete personnel file;

  • Minutes of any and all executive session meetings in which any allegations of misconduct regarding Monday were discussed; and

  • A disk reflecting all pornographic images stored on the computer belonging to the county and most recently used by Monday prior to the termination of his employment.

    The county is represented by Larry Bauer of St. Louis.

    In a letter dated Jan. 14, 2007, Barron informed Bauer that Beem had wanted to "protect certain individuals from criticism and public scrutiny" from public litigation of the case.

    According to Beem, while Monday's office door was opened, he had his computer screen positioned so that Beem could see it from her desk while she was seated.

    Beem claims she experienced embarrassment, humiliation and severe emotional distress as a result of the sexual harassment and pervasive hostile work environment she was required to work in.

    She is seeking a judgment for compensatory and punitive damages.

    The county denies any wrongdoing and claims Beem may have failed to exhaust her administrative remedies with regard to some or all of the claims and that her claims may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

    The county also claims Beem may have failed to mitigate her alleged damages, may have failed to take reasonable action to avoid damages, and may not be entitled to some or all of the relief that she demands because she may have exacerbated her damages by her conduct.

    The county claims that it exercised reasonable care to prevent a hostile working environment and that Beem failed to act with like reasonable care to take advantage of safeguards to prevent harm that could have been avoided.

    The county is seeking a judgment in its favor and wants an award of attorneys' fees and costs of the suit.

    United States District Judge G. Patrick Murphy has yet to schedule a hearing on discovery.

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