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Both parties withdraw new motions in Lakeside lawsuit hearing

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 3:25 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 9:58 a.m. CST

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During a Friday hearing at Clarke County Courthouse, Judge John D. Lloyd granted the withdrawal of two pending motions in the ongoing lawsuit of Wilson v. Lakeside Hotel and Casino.

The lawsuit was filed by Gail Ann Wilson, a former guest service manager at Lakeside, against Bob Thursby, the general manager of Lakeside, Carol Eckels, the human resources manager, Lakeside Hotel and Casino and Affinity Gaming, the parent company of Lakeside.

According to court documents, there was a joint motion from both parties to withdraw Lakeside's request for a special protective order and Wilson's request to reconsider the orders to file under seal and to challenge Lakeside's confidentiality designations.

The lawsuit filed in Clarke County alleges Thursby made inappropriate sexual comments to employees and patrons, and Eckels had inappropriate sexual relationships with her subordinates and gave them more favorable treatment.

The lawsuit states Wilson, a Native American, was fired in November 2011 "because of her race, national origin, sex and because she complained about what she believed to be unlawful employment practices."

Thursby and Eckels have denied all of Wilson's allegations in a legal response to the lawsuit.

Friday findings

Court documents released Friday state the Lakeside defendants filed a motion for a special protective order in the lawsuit Oct. 7. Along with the special protective order, the defendants filed a motion to "file it under seal," which was granted by the court later in October.

On Oct. 21, Wilson resisted Lakeside's motion for a special protective order and also filed a motion to reconsider the orders to file under seal and to challenge Lakeside's confidentiality designations.

A court hearing was set for Friday for all of the motions to be heard.

Lakeside requested the hearing be closed, and Wilson resisted that request.

A letter was sent to Iowa Newspaper Association by Frank Harty, attorney for Wilson, from the office of Nyemaster Goode, P.C., in Des Moines.

Harty wrote, "I thought the association would be interested in an attempt by Lakeside Casino to seal records in an employment litigation matter. What is especially troubling to me is that Lakeside has asked the court not just to seal all the records, but to close the hearing."

However, Friday's hearing was open to the public and media.

Joint motion

Court documents state both parties "have reached an agreement and resolved the above-listed issues that had been presented to the court, with the exception of the issue regarding confidentiality designations, which the parties have agreed to continue to attempt resolution without the need for the court's intervention at this time, and therefore, seek to withdraw certain motions."

According to court documents, Lakeside and Wilson jointly asked the court to maintain under seal any and all filings, regardless of who submitted the filings, only be available to be viewed, used and copied by the parties, counsel, court and authorized court personnel.

Court documents state, "The continued sealing of these findings is not to be understood as an agreement or concession by either party as to the designation of such materials as 'confidential' under the protective order that has previously been entered in this matter."

A jury trial in the case has been scheduled March 3 in Osceola.

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