OGDEN -- A federal judge has ruled a woman suing Weber County for sexual harassment can add claims of violation of her First Amendment rights to the lawsuit.
Marcia Eisenhour now adds allegations that Weber officials retaliated against her for going public to the press with her complaints against former Weber Justice Court Judge Craig Storey.
The harassment suit, currently pending in the motion and discovery phase, was filed by Eisenhour in February 2010, accusing the judge of two years of unwanted sexual advances on his chief court administrator.
A key piece of evidence is an 11-page, handwritten, mildly erotic love poem Storey wrote to Eisenhour.
Eisenhour and her lawyer angrily released the poem to the press in August 2009 after the state's Judicial Conduct Commission took no public action after meeting with Storey behind closed doors.
Federal Judge Samuel Alba in a Jan. 18 order ruled Eisenhour can add the free speech violation claims to the lawsuit, but denied a request to also add claims of defamation against her by Storey and other county officials.
The suit now includes the allegation that on Aug. 11, 2009, the Weber County Attorney's Office sent an email to the county commission, the clerk/auditor, and the director of human resources providing a legal basis for closing the justice court and contracting with a city to handle the county's cases.
The email went out within a week of stories breaking in the Standard-Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune about the Judicial Conduct Commission's inaction regarding the harassment claims against Storey, the suit says.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Dave Wilson, head of the civil section in the county attorney's office, declined comment on the email or the irony of the fact the county was the entity that initially filed the Storey sexual harassment complaint with the Judicial Conduct Commission.
Wilson called "ludicrous" the idea that the county closed the justice court because of Eisenhour's sexual harassment complaints.
During recent depositions in the case taken of Wilson and the county commissioners, Wilson said it was made clear the county had been talking of closing the court for eight years or more because of declining caseloads. Case filings plummeted further after the Ogden Justice Court opened in 2006.
"There are substantive issues in this case -- this is not one of them," he said.
The suit says on or about March 31, 2010, Eisenhour was terminated because of the closure of the county justice court. After that, the county provided a means for Storey to buy his retirement, but refused to do the same for Eisenhour, the suit alleges.
The county also allegedly neglected to place Eisenhour's name on a reappointment register, and refused to consider her for vacancies for which she was qualified.
Eisenhour now works at the Weber County Animal Shelter for less than half her former salary as the chief administrator at the now-defunct justice court.