|Tuesday, July 16
Judge condemns Tigers' behavior on team flight
DETROIT -- A judge says several Detroit Tigers players engaged in "shameful and disgraceful" behavior toward a flight attendant on the team airplane.
Lisa Kesner, of Lima, Ohio, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit claiming that players and others subjected her to unwanted physical touching and drunken and lewd behavior, beginning on her first flight with the team in April 2000.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff criticized the "hubris of the players, engaging in behavior that would be rightfully deemed unacceptable if performed by anyone else in society ... simply because of their ability to hit a ball with a bat and run around the bases," The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
Zatkoff noted that the Tigers organization and other defendants in the lawsuit did not make any attempt to deny Kesner's allegations. But he dismissed 29 of the 30 complaints she made.
None of the players is named as a defendant in Kesner's suit.
In May 2001, Kesner sued the Tigers, three holding companies and Olympia Aviation, which handled charter flights for the Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.
She claimed sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The 37-year-old woman claimed players displayed pornography on laptop computers during flights on the team plane.
She also claimed a former player used marijuana in the plane's restroom, and that current player Matt Anderson called her profane names after she told him marijuana use was not permitted on the plane. She also accused player Bobby Higginson of profanity.
Zatkoff ruled the single complaint of sexual harassment against Olympia Aviation could proceed to trial, set for Aug. 1.
Olympia Aviation was a company owned by Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. It now is dissolved.
Higginson and Anderson said Monday they had no recollection of the events Kesner alleges.
"I kind of know who the lady is, but it was never a big issue in my life," Anderson said.