INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana House and Senate have hired outside counsel to represent them in a federal lawsuit involving Attorney General Curtis Hill and the state.
The four women who have accused Hill of sexual misconduct filed the lawsuit last month for alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and violation of the Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The accusers are current employees of the state congress. Democratic representative Mara Candelaria Reardon and three legislative staffers, Niki DaSilva, Samantha Lozano and Gabrielle McLemore, accused Hill of inappropriately groping them at a bar.
Typically, the attorney general’s office represents the state in legal matters, but with Hill at the center of the lawsuit, House and Senate leaders have hired Indianapolis attorney Susan Zoeller of the labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. to represent them in the complaint.
Zoeller formally filed motions to intervene on Monday. Previously, she helped the House and Senate refine and craft new sexual harassment policies implemented earlier this year.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) issued this statement regarding the Zoeller’s hire:
“Given the nature of this matter, we believe that independent legal counsel should represent the House and Senate. That’s why we hired an experienced employment attorney to intervene in the lawsuit and represent our interests as the employer of three of the four plaintiffs. House and Senate leadership took immediate and swift action after learning of the incident last year, and continue to support the women who came forward. We also remain committed to providing a positive and safe working environment for all employees.”
Here’s a statement from Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville):
“To avoid any conflict or even the appearance of a conflict with the Attorney General, who is also a party in this lawsuit, the House and Senate have chosen to hire Susan Zoeller to represent our respective chambers as outside counsel. Zoeller has become a trusted advisor for the House and Senate in these matters, and we believe she will provide the guidance we need. The health and safety of our employees is paramount.”