Woman sues employer after alleged assault by co-worker

By Kelly Holleran | May 17, 2010

A Hardin County woman filed suit against her employer and the co-worker she claims assaulted and sexually harassed her.

Margaret Garrett claims she was accosted, battered and sexually assaulted by defendant, Joseph Lewis, on Sept. 29, 2008, while both were working for co-defendant Emeritus Corp.

According to the complaint filed May 5 in Jefferson County District Court, during the incident, Lewis inflicted bodily harm on Garrett through personal contact in a manner that would offend a reasonable person's sense of dignity that he knew she would regard as offensive and committed further, unspecified acts against Garrett that a reasonable person would consider extreme and outrageous.

Because of Lewis' conduct, Garrett claims she incurred medical costs; experienced extreme physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment; and lost her earnings and her earning capacity, the suit states.

Garrett partially places blame on Emeritus for her injuries, saying the company negligently failed to use ordinary care to determine whether a perspective employee is competent to be hired, failed to adequately supervise its employees, retained an employee even though it knew the employee posed an unreasonable risk of harm to others and failed to adequately train its employees.

In addition, Margaret Garrett's husband, Steven Garrett, who is also a plaintiff in the case, sustained mental anguish and lost his wife's consortium, society and household services, the complaint says.

The Garretts are seeking an unspecified judgment, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

They will be represented by James E. Payne, Jennifer Job Seale and Kendall Cockrell of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-792.

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