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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 10, 1997

UA discrimination lawsuit dismissed

The Arizona Attorney General's office has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Mary Hemmings, former associate director of Cultural Affairs, which charged the UA with wrongful termination.

On Sept. 4, Kenneth Countryman, assistant attorney general and defense attorney representing the University of Arizona in the suit, filed a motion to dismiss based on a statute requiring a plaintiff to file a discrimination complaint within 300 days of being fired. The suit, Hemmings vs. UA and the Arizona Board of Regents, was filed at the federal district court of Arizona in the district of Tucson.

According to the motion, Hemmings filed her complaint of age and gender discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on April 1, 1996, 369 days after her March 29, 1995 termination.

In her suit, Hemmings claimed to have been "subjected to continual age and gender-based derogatory remarks by her director in the office of Cultural Affairs." The case is based on the violation of Hemmings' First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Hemmings referred questions to her attorney, Milan Tesanovich. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

In the brief presented to Judge Alfredo Marquez, the defense alleged the plaintiff failed to file her claim within the allotted time and the failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

The second claim is based on the 11th Amendment.

According to the motion, a state agency cannot to be sued in federal court, unless the agency acknowledges the suit.

Karie Dozer, spokeswoman for the Attorney General, said the plaintiff has no legal action because the claim was filed after the deadline.

Dozer said the Attorney General's office acts as council for any state agency involved in a similar civil lawsuit.

"Our actions are to defend the state," Dozer said. "I don't know what his (Judge Marquez) legal grounds would be (to allow the case to be heard)."

A ruling on the motion is still pending.

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