Former premier David Peterson, accused of sexual harassment, wants quicker litigation: Lawyers
"David Peterson wants the opportunity to clear his name as quickly as possible,” said Lisa Talbot, one of three lawyers representing the former premier in a lawsuit launched against him. (TORONTO SUN/FILES)
Former Ontario Premier David Peterson’s legal team is angry at the foot-dragging by a Pan Am Games employee who launched a $3-million lawsuit alleging he sexually harassed her through inappropriate suggestions, a kiss and unwelcome hugging.
“There’s no substance to her allegations and David Peterson wants the opportunity to clear his name as quickly as possible,” said Lisa Talbot, one of three lawyers representing Peterson.
“It’s unusual for a defendant to have to bring a lawsuit forward. Ximena Morris launched the action in August 2015 and for almost 20 months, has not done anything to advance it. It’s not fair,” said Talbot.
Peterson’s lawyers are in Superior Court on May 10 to force Morris and her lawyer Rocco Achampong to start discoveries (the recording of evidence by Peterson and Morris) in June.
This is the latest salvo in the legal war between Ximena Morris and Pan Am Games chairman Peterson and other 2015 Toronto Pan Am executives.
In 2015, Morris, now 35, a former manager with the Toronto Pan Am organization and the unofficial “Spanish voice” of the Games, filed a $10-million (now revised to $3 million) sexual harassment lawsuit against Peterson, CEO Saad Rafi, her boss Amir Remtulla and general counsel Karen Hacker. The alleged harassment began in the fall of 2013.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Achampong, a sole practitioner, declined to comment on the latest development, saying only, “the litigation will continue and I will reserve my comments for court.”
In documents obtained by the Toronto Sun, Achampong wrote that he was “currently in a proceeding, which is taking up all my time and exhausting my human limits.
“She remains firm that she was wronged, subjected to a hostile work environment, and will be pursuing her claim for a remedy,” wrote Achampong.
“A wronged woman, nay person, should not be silenced in seeking redress,” stated Achampong’s email in January 2016.
Peterson alleged in his statement of defence that he and his lawyers were given an ultimatum: Pay Morris $500,000 within 30 minutes or she goes public and launches a sexual harassment lawsuit against the former premier.
“That is patently false and incorrect,” Achampong said of the alleged ultimatum last year.
“The suggestion that I sought to blackmail them is ludicrous, untrue and very serious.
“When I read it, I was aghast that they’d make such an allegation.”