BY LINDA SUTTER
February 8, 2011, Lori Markel, who is represented by the Law Office of Gray and Prouty (which has recently undergone a name change to: Workman’s Compensation Law Center) filed a civil suit in the Del Norte County Superior Court in Crescent City California, CASE NUMBER CVUJ 10-1454 against Kevin Hartwick and Flying B Ranch.
In the suit, Markel lists ten legal claims against Kevin Hardwick/Flying B Ranch for sexual discrimination, tortuous termination, harassment under California Civil Code section 51.9, as well as sexual harassment under California Civil Code 52.4. intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, loss of consortium, fraud with intentional misrepresentation and fraud with negligent misrepresentation.
Markel alleges that from December 1997 through March 2009, she was sexually harassed and subjected to a sexually hostile work environment, sexually discriminated against by actions and comments of defendant Kevin Hartwick/defendant Flying B Ranch. Markel alleges she was a victim of numerous discriminatory and harassing actions and remarks by defendant on the basis of her sex. These claims include the following allegations:
Kevin Hartwick attempted to have Lori Markel rub his body on numerous occasions. Kevin Hartwick would appear nude in front of Lori Markel on a number of occasions making indications he needed a massage or back rub. Kevin Hartwick while naked, touched his genitalia in front of Lori Markel on several occasions. Kevin Hartwick attempted to grab and did grab Lori Markel’s breast on numerous occasions. Kevin Hartwick also made inappropriate comments including the following, “Oh, just let me play and make me have a great day,” followed by Kevin Hartwick throwing pebbles at Lori Markel’s buttocks while she was trying to work.
Lori Markel was asked why she would put up with this behavior, her reply was, “Because he promised me 50/50 on the earnings of the ranch and to place me as 50% owner of Flying B Ranch deed. I was afraid if I said anything I would no longer have 50% partnership as Kevin Hartwick had promised, I chose to just fight him off.” It should be noted Ms. Markel received very little pay after working 7 days a week and long hours each day to run the ranch under the promise of this partnership.
An email was sent to Mr. Hartwick asking for comments followed-up by a phone call asking for comments. He was unavailable.
In a demurrer to the above allegations, Attorney George Mavris, who represents Kevin Hartwick, presented the defense, “Failure to state facts sufficient to state a cause of action,” on most allegations or “Pending before the workers compensation board.”
In a case similar to this one, Chester Mingledorf, who was a correctional officer at Pelican Bay State Prison in the early ‘90’s would commonly expose himself to female officers, while he was on duty. Eventually, Internal Affairs found out and after a thorough investigation and a State personnel board hearing, Mr. Mingledorf was fired from the California Department of Corrections. He then got hired to work at K-Mart. While working at K-Mart he was caught on video masturbating in front of female workers. Eventually, Mr. Mingledorf had sexual molestation charges placed on him by his own daughter.