Ex-Disney Studios Firefighter Loses Harassment Suit
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A jury on Tuesday rejected a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former female Disney Studios fire captain, who alleged she endured lewd comments and unwelcome gestures from the chief.
Jane Marie Coy sued The Walt Disney Co. in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2008, also alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Her court papers say she worked at the studios, which has offices in Burbank and Glendale, from March through August 2008, when she was fired for what she was told was performance-related reasons.
Her attorneys said Coy, now 41, received her firefighter training in the Air Force and later worked with the Oxnard Fire Department. Not long before being hired at Disney, her husband, whom she met in the Air Force, died unexpectedly, he said.
But then-Disney Fire Chief David Davis repeatedly made Coy uncomfortable, her attorneys alleged, saying that one of her worst moments occurred when he kissed her in front of his wife.
“Obviously, Jane Coy is disappointed with the verdict,” her attorney, Anthony N. Luti, said. “We will definitely appeal based on errors of law during the trial that we believe affected the ability of this jury to see the entire story. This fight is far from over.”
Disney attorney Shawna M. Swanson said Davis never kissed Coy. Instead, the plaintiff hugged Davis with his wife present, leaving him as the one feeling awkward, she said.
Swanson said the embrace apparently occurred because Coy was upset about having arrived late to a Fire Service Day ceremony.
Coy, who put her profile on Match.com, talked openly about who she was dating and even joked that she had not had sex for a long time, Swanson said.
Disney’s human resources department promptly investigated Coy’s sexual harassment complaint and concluded it was unfounded, Swanson said. Coy changed her story many times, the lawyer said.
Although Coy said she told a volunteer firefighter in the department about the alleged harassment by Davis, the firefighter was later interviewed by a human resources representative, and he denied the woman ever made the comments to her, Swanson said.
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