A federal judge has granted a protective order to the woman suing a former Weber County judge for sexual harassment, keeping her therapist's records confidential amid probing by the judge's and the county's lawyers.
The lawyers had been arguing about the order since March, with Marcia Eisenhour first hoping to block any access to her counselor's files going back three years. Her lawsuit filed in February 2010 claims the need for the therapy was triggered by the harassment she received while working in the court of Weber Justice Court Judge Craig Storey.
But June 1 federal Magistrate Judge Sam Alba in Salt Lake City approved the protective order outlining the confidential handling of the records.
No dissemination is allowed beyond actual court personnel or parties to the case, those undergoing deposition who may not retain a copy of the records, or the potential jury if the case goes to trial, according to court records.
Eisenhour, Storey's chief administrator in the Weber County Justice Court, accuses the judge of two years of unwanted sexual attention.
The key evidence is a mildly erotic, handwritten, 11-page love poem Storey wrote to her.
Allegations first came to light in August 2009 after a Utah Judicial Conduct Commission closed-door meeting at which commissioners opted against any public reprimand of Storey.
The complaint against the judge was filed with the commission by the Weber County Attorney's Office.
The county now, ironically, is tasked with defending the lawsuit, which names Storey and the county as defendants.
April Hollingsworth, Eisenhour's attorney, argued that allowing Storey and the county to subpoena Eisenhour's personal medical records and therapy history "eviscerates" the doctor-patient confidentiality privilege recognized by appellate law.
But Storey's attorney, Linette Hutton, argued case law allows the breaching of the privilege when the medical condition is the issue as to damages alleged in a lawsuit.
Eisenhour lists the stress she suffered from Storey's attentions as including migraines, depression and repeated stomach and blood glucose problems, once with symptoms serious enough to require a visit to an emergency room. The county has reimbursed her the costs of counseling she's receiving.
After the Judicial Conduct Commission's inaction in August 2009, an angry Eisenhour and her attorney at the time, Brenda Beaton, went public, detailing their allegations in the media and releasing the poem.
The rambling, rhyming poetry is the first among 10 specific incidents of sexual harassment listed in the lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
The poem is full of comparisons of Eisenhour's appeal to the wonders of nature, as well as descriptions of the judge's unrequited longing for her when both are married to someone else. In four or five passages, it falls into more suggestive phrasings.
The suit also accuses Storey of rubbing his body against Eisenhour, sometimes against the back of her head, while she was seated at her desk or at the front counter where she waited on the public. The judge also told her of a dream he had of her washing dishes naked from the waist up in the office break room, the suit says, and regularly "interrogated" other court employees about Eisenhour's in-office contact with men. The suit also says he eavesdropped on those contacts.
The county last year closed the county justice court, citing economic reasons with a major dropoff in caseload after the 2006 opening of the Ogden Justice Court. The action retired Storey and left Eisenhour unemployed briefly.
The county currently employs her in a clerical position in another department for $14 an hour less than what she made after working in the county court for 24 years.
Hollingsworth in court documents has calculated that loss of wage as accruing damages the county owes her client at the rate of $24,000 a year minimum, not including the slash to Eisenhour's retirement accounts.