Former HRC President Alphonso David Sues Over Racial Discrimination

Alphonso David, former president of the Human Rights Campaign, has filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination

Alphonso David, former president of the Human Rights Campaign, has filed a lawsuit against the LGBTQ organization alleging racial discrimination led to his dismissal last year.

David and the HRC parted ways last September after a report from the New York State Attorney General revealed David had advised the office of then-New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on its response to sexual harassment allegations. Continue reading “Former HRC President Alphonso David Sues Over Racial Discrimination”

Gay Teacher Sues City Alleging Police Intimidation & Harassment

View of a police officer's hand on holstered gun

View of a police officer's hand on holstered gun
(image via Depositphotos)

A California teacher has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ceres, Ceres’s police department, officer Lorenzo Beltran, and several unnamed individuals in federal court.

According to the teacher, David Cole, a school resource officer visited his home and harassed him after Cole had reported incidents of anti-gay bullying at his school.

From the Modesto Bee:

David Cole made the accusations against school resource officer Lorenzo Beltran in a federal complaint, and last week told The Bee he struggles to feel safe after the incident two years ago. Cole added he has lost 75 pounds while dealing with insomnia and gastrointestinal issues from the distress.

The lawsuit claims Beltran and a plainclothes officer entered Cole’s gated community when school was closed for a holiday in February 2019 and ordered Cole to exit his home. Outside, Beltran allegedly questioned Cole about his reports of anti-gay student bullying, repeatedly gestured toward his gun and pressured the teacher to quit his job or go to the closed school with them.

Cole begged Beltran to leave, but the officer allegedly refused. The now 54-year-old teacher eventually ran into his home when his partner of 30 years opened the door after listening to the exchange, the lawsuit claims.

Ceres Unified School District paid Cole a $50,000 settlement in 2020 after firing him in 2019.

The city maintains Beltran only visited Cole as a ‘welfare check’ at the request of the school saying Cole had missed scheduled meetings.

Cole says he and his partner are now very concerned about their personal well-being when outside their home.

“Now we’re scared to even be who we are,” Cole said. “That complete turnaround in my life to go from starting Rainbow Generation, the first queer club in the Central Valley at a school, to being terrified and not wanting the police to know it’s me or know that I’m gay. That’s where I’m at: just terrified of being outside in Ceres and at home.”

Read the full details of the court case here.

Georgia Sec Of State: ‘The Kraken Cracks Under Pressure’

Attorney Sidney Powell
Attorney Sidney Powell
Attorney Sidney Powell (screen capture)

Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, issued a statement today regarding former legal adviser to Donald Trump Sidney Powell who repeatedly claimed there was election fraud in the Peach State.

Among other things, Powell alleged without evidence that Dominion Voting Systems was part of a massive international communist plot to rig the election. Powell never presented any evidence to back up her claims.

In January, Dominion filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Powell over her conspiracy theories.

But this week, Powell’s legal team filed a statement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking for the case to be dismissed saying “no reasonable person would conclude that [her] statements were truly statements of fact.”

The statement from Raffensperger, titled ‘The Kraken Cracks Under Pressure,’ states, “In the face of legal action, Sidney Powell admitted that her effort to make millions lying to the American people had no facts to begin with.”

In the court filing, Powell and her lawyers point to Dominion’s criticism that Powell’s claims were “wild accusations,” “outlandish claims,” “inherently improbable,” or “impossible” as evidence that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims.”

Powell and her legal team now say that her claims about voter fraud, stolen elections, or switched votes were merely “her opinions and legal theories.”

It’s worth noting that Powell’s claims in the weeks following the 2020 election helped fuel belief that the election was ‘stolen’ which led to the violent insurrection of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6. Seven people died as a result of that event as well has dozens seriously injured.

Over 4,000 lawyers have signed an open letter calling for disciplinary action to be taken against Powell for her outrageous behavior following the 2020 election.

Lawsuit Against Kathy Griffin By Covington Catholic Students Dismissed

Comedian Kathy Griffin
Comedian Kathy Griffin
Comedian Kathy Griffin

A lawsuit filed against comedian Kathy Griffin by a group of students from Covington Catholic in Kentucky has been dismissed (again) by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

I’m sure you remember the sad tale of the Covington students who were involved in a standoff with a group of Native Americans in Washington D.C. on January 18, 2019.

Video footage of student Nick Sandmann, wearing a red MAGA hat standing face to face with Native American elder Nathan Phillips, went viral as the young student was viewed by many as being disrespectful to the Native American elder.

Sandmann later said he was trying to “defuse” the situation by standing still and “remaining calm.”

In the aftermath, Sandmann and his family sought to cash in on what they believed was his victimhood in the situation calling out media outlets for defaming and vilifying him.

Sandmann sued and eventually settled with CNN and the Washington Post.

The group of students in this case alleged harm by Griffin when she tweeted, “Names please, and stories from people who can identify them and vouch for their identity. Thank you.”

“Maybe you should let this fine Catholic school know how you feel about their students (sic) behavior toward the Vietnam veteran, Native American #NathanPhillips,” she said in a follow-up tweet.

But the Cincinnati Enquirer reports the 6th U.S. Circuit Court ruled on Tuesday that Covington Catholic students cannot bring harassment claims against Griffin.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman had granted a request from Griffin to dismiss the case but the students appealed that decision to the 6th Circuit.

Bertelsman also dismissed the students’ defamation and harassment lawsuits against CNN, the Washington Post and NBC.

A three-judge panel at the 6th Circuit upheld Bertelsman’s ruling saying the ‘Kentucky longarm statute’ being cited in the cases had no jurisdiction regarding Griffin since she hadn’t “committed any act ‘in [the] Commonwealth’ of Kentucky.”

Circuit Judge Julia Gibbons wrote in the decision, “To satisfy that provision of the longarm statute, the ’cause of action must arise from defendant’s activities’ in Kentucky.”

Additionally, the panel found, “there is no evidence that the defendants posted the tweets hoping to reach Kentucky specifically as opposed to their Twitter followers generally.”


(h/t to TRR reader Rusty)

Lawsuit Alleges VA Docs Failed To Inform Veteran He Was HIV+ For 20 Years

A Navy veteran living in South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the Veterans Administration claiming he tested positive for HIV over 20 years ago and his doctors never informed him of the diagnosis.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court this week, alleges the medical staff at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA center in Columbia, South Carolina, failed to tell him an HIV test taken in 1995 came back positive. If true, the failure allowed the virus to progress for 20 years.

The veteran is referred to as “John Doe” in the filing to protect his medical privacy.

According to the local Columbia newspaper The State, the lawsuit reads, “The VA had actual knowledge beginning in November 1995 that Mr. Doe was HIV positive and the standard of care required he be informed of the positive test and proper treatment begin in 1995.”

“In clear contravention of the standard of care, Mr. Doe was not informed of the positive HIV test until decades later,” continues the filing.

The patient’s medical records reportedly mention his HIV diagnosis in subsequent visits but there’s no apparent record of the patient being informed he was HIV-positive.

‘Doe’ only learned of his status while seeing a non-VA physician who mentioned the diagnosis in passing during a December 2015 examination.

The doctor wrote in his notes, “I looked at the patient and ask (sic) him who was his infectious disease doctor, and patient states (he) did not have one and (I) ask (sic) him if he knew that his HIV test was positive, and he stated (he) never was told it was positive.”

According to reports, the veteran didn’t begin receiving antiretroviral treatment until he was admitted to a non-VA hospital in New York in 2018 at which point he had developed full-blown AIDS.

The lawsuit, which requests an unspecified amount for punitive damages, claims the man’s health and immune system are permanently affected.

“The treatment he’s getting now is effective, but he’s had essentially 25 years of wear and tear for having no treatment,” said his lawyer, Chad McGowan, told Navy Times.

“He feels extremely guilty about the girlfriends he’s had over the last 25 years because he didn’t know,” McGowan added.

Had ‘Doe’ had been informed of his status in a timely manner, McGowan says his client “would not have suffered the losses he has suffered, and will continue to suffer in the future, and more likely than not, he would not have developed AIDS.”

The medical director of the Dorn VA facility declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

Student Doctor Sues Over Anti-Gay Harassment During NYC Residency

A doctor in New York City has filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly the target of homophobic comments during his first-year residency at The Brooklyn Hospital Center.

The New York Post reports Dr. Chad Jensen, a surgical resident, says among the vulgar jokes made at his expense was a supervisor referring to him as a member of the ATM or ‘a** to mouth crew.’

In his lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Jensen alleges the surgical residency program director, Dr. Armand Asarian, and Dr. Sandeep Sirsi, the associate director, “regularly made hateful, anti-gay comments about their gay patients and unscientific judgments that these patients’ own ‘lifestyle’ caused their illnesses.”

The 32-year-old physician, who left the residency program before his year was up, told the Post he was surprised to experience ‘that kind of discrimination’ in New York City.

Jensen moved to New York City from California in June 2017 to take the one-year residency. It was during that time he came out as gay.

“It just reinforced all of those fears, essentially putting me back into those 29 years that I was living in fear, feeling like I couldn’t be myself,” Jensen told the Post.

According to the lawsuit, the Brooklyn Hospital Center did determine after Jensen’s departure that he “had been harassed because of his sexual orientation.” Asarian was reportedly removed as director of the surgical residency program and Sirsi was forced to resign.

Jensen is now a resident in the Bronx at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.

He tells the Post he brought the lawsuit because he felt “like he had no voice.”

“It made me think of all the other people in this country that are also gay and feel like they have nowhere to go and it leads them down dark paths,” Jensen explained to the Post. “So me coming forward, I wanted to let people know that they’re not alone.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and asks for the hospital to institute anti-bias training.

(source: NY Post – stock photo via Depositphotos)

Missouri Cop Told To ‘Tone Down Gayness’ Agrees To $10M Settlement

Lt. Keith Wildhaber of the St. Louis County Police Department, who was awarded a $20 million judgment in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit last October, has agreed to a $10.25 million settlement.

It’s believed the county planned on appealing the ruling, and so Wildhaber came to this agreement to avoid a protracted appeals process.

You may recall Wildhaber, who is openly gay, sued St. Louis County after being passed over for promotion 23 times. Wildhaber said he was being discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.

In the lawsuit, Wildhaber alleged a member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners told him that if he wanted to get promoted, “you should tone down your gayness.”

More from ABC News:

According to the settlement papers filed Tuesday morning in a St. Louis County court, Wildhaber is to receive a little more than $6.4 million and his attorneys will get about $3.8 million.

Prior to going to trial last year, Wildhaber and his lawyers offered to settle the case for $850,000 plus an immediate promotion of Wildhaber to lieutenant, according to a timeline of the case released by Page’s office. Steve Stenger, the previous St. Louis County Executive, ignored the offer, according to the timeline.

Stenger was later indicted on federal charges in a pay-for-play scandal. He pleaded guilty in August to charges of bribery, mail fraud and depriving citizens of honest services of a public official and sentenced to 46 months in prison.

Following the October jury verdict in Wildhaber’s case, Belmar promoted Wildhaber from sergeant to lieutenant. Belmar also created the police department’s Diversity and Inclusion Unit and put Wildhaber in charge of it, Page said.

Just hours before the settlement was made public, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar announced he will retire in April. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the retirement had nothing to do with the settlement.

Sure, Jan…