News Service Jun. 30, 2008, 12:12pm
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Ohio Attorney General Nancy Hardin Rogers announced today she has retained outside counsel to represent the State as it attempts to negotiate the sexual harassment charges filed by two female employees who were harassed under the administration of recently ousted Ohio AG Marc Dann. Dann resigned May 14 after revealing he had an affair with a staff member and as calls for his impeachment or resignation from Ohio's governor and others grew increasingly vocal. The women, Cindy Stankowski and Vanessa Stout, continue to work in the AG's general services division, the same department in which they worked when the harassment occurred. A May 2 report issued by Ben Espy, who Dann had appointed to conduct an inner-office investigation into the women's claims, found that the harassment had indeed occurred and that when supervisors were notified of it, they did nothing about it. Rex Elliott, the lawyer representing the women, is seeking $400,000 for each woman as well as nearly $100,000 in legal fees. He was unavailable to comment on the AG's actions today. According to Jim Gravelle, press secretary for AG Rogers, Littler Mendelson was selected to represent the Ohio AG because "they're the best employment law firm in the U.S. They're also the largest." The nationwide firm has offices in Columbus and Cleveland, as well. Littler Mendelson attorney Jeff Hiller, of the firm's Columbus office, will lead the team negotiating with Elliott. He was not available to comment for this story. Gravelle says Rogers and the law firm signed a fee agreement earlier today that calls for Littler Mendelson to be paid $175 an hour with a cap of $20,000.