Attorneys for Sheriff Blake Dorning complain former deputy’s sexual harassment lawsuit nearly as long as ‘The Great Gatsby’

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Attorneys for Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning and other county employees are asking a federal judge to dismiss a sexual harassment lawsuit, arguing it’s a “massive” and “shotgun” complaint that violates court rules for direct, simple pleadings.

The response came in the case of former deputy Shelby Holt, who alleges she was fired after complaining about sexual harassment by a supervisor. The lawsuit claims the sheriff’s office had a double standard regarding the conduct of male employees compared to female employees.

Holt’s lawsuit, filed in September, lists several alleged incidents of sexual misbehavior by male employees of the sheriff’s office and claims they were not punished for their actions. The day after the lawsuit was filed, the Madison County Sheriff's Office responded publicly to the lawsuit

Dorning’s attorneys say the expansive nature of the 189-page complaint makes it very difficult to respond to, and they argue it should be thrown out, or the plaintiffs need to make a more definite statement about its claims.

“As things currently stand, defendants have before them the monumental task of analyzing and responding to a complaint that is the approximate length of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, ‘The Great Gatsby,’ but which repeats and reasserts all 1 prior content on 29 separate occasions,” the defense argues in the motion to dismiss.”

Holt’s attorney Michael Weathers also filed a complaint earlier this month, on behalf of a current deputy, Gregory Gray, who alleges he was retaliated against and effectively demoted, for speaking up of Holt’s behalf regarding alleged harassment against her.