House And Senate Hire Lawyer To Intervene In Curtis Hill Lawsuit


House And Senate Hire Lawyer To Intervene In Curtis Hill Lawsuit

By Brandon Barger

INDIANAPOLIS—Leaders of the Indiana House and Senate have asked a federal court to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit filed by four women who say that Attorney General Curtis Hill groped them at a party at the end of the 2018 legislative session.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, said late Monday that they had hired Susan M. Zoeller of Jackson Lewis P.C. to represent them in the case. Zoeller, who previously helped lawmakers craft new sexual harassment policies, has been paid $54,474 for her services so far, according to the Legislative Services Agency.

Four women—Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster; Niki DaSilva, a legislative assistant for Indiana Senate Republicans; Samantha Lozano, a legislative assistant for Indiana House Democrats; and Gabrielle McLemore, communications director for Indiana Senate Democrats— sued Hill and the state of Indiana in U.S District Court for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation, battery, invasion of privacy and defamation related to the March 2018 incident.

Hill is being sued both personally and in his role as attorney general. Indiana is being sued because, the women say, lawmakers and policy-making officials failed to act when concerns about workplace discrimination and retaliation were reported.

But neither the House nor the Senate was sued separately, which is why the lawmakers are asking the court to allow them to intervene in the case.

Attorneys for the women at Katz, Korin, and Cunningham declined to comment on why the General Assembly wasn’t included in the lawsuit.

In motions to intervene on behalf of each legislative chamber, Zoeller wrote that by not naming the House or the Senate, the four women are requiring them to change policies without giving either of them an opportunity to defend current policies.

In addition to the allegations against Hill, the lawsuit says that the state’s policies to protect employees against sexual harassment have been weak or non-existent. In January, the General Assembly passed its first sexual harassment policy, but the lawsuit claims the policy does not go far enough to protect employees.

Zoeller wrote that the House and Senate have a long-term interest in defending its policies and investigative actions from attack.

In separate responses on behalf of the House and Senate, Zoeller responded line by line to every point made in the women’s lawsuit, including whether the sine die party held at the end of the session was an officially sanctioned event.

“Answering further, the Indiana House denies there is an official, sanctioned sine die Celebration,” she wrote. Zoeller had a similar statement in the Senate response.

In addition to seeking damages against Hill and the state, the women in their lawsuit are asking the court to order the state to improve policies and procedures to for preventing and reporting sexual harassment and retaliation.

Hill has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that the charges against him do not rise to the level of a civil rights violation.

Hill faces a hearing in October before retired Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby on charges filed against him by the Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary commission. The 10-page complaint accuses him of committing both felony-level and misdemeanor battery while acting “with the selfish motive to arouse his sexual desires.”

Hill could face the loss of his law license, which in turn could cost him his elective office because Indiana law requires the attorney general to be licensed to practice law.

FOOTNOTE: Brandon Barger is a reporter for, anews website powered by Franklin College journalists.