Former Butler County Magistrate Kimberly Edelstein claims she was fired for asking off work for eight religious holidays. STAFF FILE/2007

Ex-magistrate who claims discrimination for being Jewish continues fight against judge, prosecutors

Kimberly Edelstein filed a $1 million lawsuit against Judge Greg Stephens, Prosecutor Michael Gmoser and Assistant Prosecutor Dan Ferguson in May, claiming Stephens fired her for wanting to take off eight high holy days and that all three men bad-mouthed her, preventing her from securing another job.

She is asking the court to declare the county’s vacation policy unlawful; to force the three men to stop giving her negative job references and to be awarded in excess of $300,000 each for compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages.

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Edelstein also claims the county’s policy of allowing Christians to have Christmas Day off without taking a vacation day is discriminatory.

Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz dismissed 16 of 21 claims against the three men last month. The rest of the claims are fact based and thus require discovery, according to Gmoser.

In a rather strongly worded response to the dismissed accusations, Edelstein claims Litkovitz didn’t apply certain standards fully or use the proper case law to bolster her decision.

“Ms. Edelstein argues that it is bad law to make a ruling based on quotes extracted from cases and ignore the context of those quotes. Furthermore, reliance on legal standards, analytical elements and tests for sufficiency should be from cases that are applicable due to a similarity in the legal claims made or the facts that form the basis of the claim,” Edelstein wrote.

“Ms. Edelstein presented extensive arguments, detailing the distinctions in each of the claims, yet her numerous citations were ignored,” Edelstein wrote.

MORE: Most claims against Butler County judge and prosecutors tossed

She is asking the court to re-examine the case law and apply the proper tests and standards or allow her to amend her complaint. She also wants an oral argument.

Stephens could not be reached for comment. Gmoser said he can’t say much about the case at this juncture.

“Because certain of the claims are based on allegations of fact those claims will be developed one way or the other through the process of discovery,” he said. “That’s as far as I believe I can go in commenting on the remaining claims.”

Edelstein told the Journal-News she knows this is an uphill battle, suing a sitting judge and two prosecutors, but she feels obligated to continue the fight.

“This case is as much about discrimination as it is about abuse of power by public officials,” she said. “I’m not going to stop because I took an oath a long time ago as an attorney to uphold the law and to fight for justice. I just find myself in a weird position to fight public officials and the justice is for myself.”

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