Suit against Chattanooga to be tried in 2014

Suit against Chattanooga to be tried in 2014

January 12th, 2013 by Todd South in Local Regional News

Former Chattanooga General Services Director Paul Page

Former Chattanooga General Services Director Paul Page

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

Attorneys met Friday and scheduled a May 20, 2014, trial in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against former Chattanooga Director of General Services Paul Page.

Fired part-time fitness trainer Lana Sutton filed the $350,000 lawsuit in September that claims Page sexually harassed her. She claims in the lawsuit that Page harassed and threatened her multiple times while she worked at the city gym, on one occasion telling her he "wanted me to get naked in the back with him."

City attorneys declined to comment on the pending case.

Sutton's attorney, Eric Burnette, said after the meeting, "We're glad to have a trial date set and look forward to the upcoming discovery phase."

Discovery is when attorneys for both sides investigate the case for evidence and exchange information before the trial.

Page could not be reached for comment. He retired from the city in October 2011, shortly after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint involving Sutton and another female city employee who made similar allegations was made public.

He collects about $12,000 a year in retirement pay.

The complaint found that Page had harassed Sutton and the other woman while working for the city.

The rare "for cause" finding in the complaint verified that the women's complaints were legitimate, Burnette said in a previous interview.

Neither woman's name was revealed in the EEOC public complaint.

Sutton's name became public when she filed the lawsuit. She is seeking money damages and her job back.

She was fired in December 2008 after complaining about Page's conduct. The city rehired her to work at the Warner Park facility, a location where jail inmates and probationers exercise.

Sutton claims in court documents that while working there, she was warned to keep quiet about Page and her car was vandalized several times. She claims she feared for her safety so much she quit the city job.