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Court Delays Capitol Police Case Due to Possible Shutdown

A Washington, D.C. court on Friday granted the Capitol Police Board’s request to delay a discrimination case brought against them by an administrative employee if the government shuts down on Friday.

The board is also requesting that another case be stayed for the same reason.

The board made the first request Thursday, saying that the United States Attorney representing House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood and Capitol Police Chief Philip Morse would be furloughed and consequently unable to meet the court’s deadlines.

Scharon Ball, a senior employment counsel with the Capitol Police since 2004, sued in September, alleging that the department failed to thoroughly investigate claims that she was discriminated against and that her superiors instead retaliated against her by refusing to promote her.

At the end of March, the Capitol Police Board sought to partially dismiss the case, claiming that the Capitol Police is an incorrect defendant and only the board should be sued.

“It is likely that the undersigned [Assistant United States Attorney] will be prohibited from reporting for duty … and may therefore be unable to meet the April 26, 2011, deadline for filing a reply to Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendants’ motion to dismiss in part if the shutdown persists for several weeks,” attorneys for the Capitol Police Board wrote in their Thursday request to stay proceedings. “Agency counsel are likewise expected to be unavailable during any lapse in funding.”

The court granted the request and if the government shuts down on Friday, both parties must file a joint status report within seven days of resumption of normal government work.

The same deadline would apply for the case brought by Special Agent Luanne Moran, who alleged in her September 2009 lawsuit that she was falsely reprimanded while on then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) protective detail in retaliation for sexual harassment complaints that she levied against her Capitol Police supervisor.

The board requested Friday that the case be delayed because they have an April 21 deadline they fear they may miss. The court has yet to respond to the board’s request.