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Woman's lawsuit over 'lesbian' remark has ended
North Olmsted, Ohio--A woman who sued her supervisor for calling her a lesbian says she has moved on.
Debra Cowdin of suburban Cleveland sought $50,000 in damages from Cory Morris, then of Seville, for defaming her by introducing her to colleagues and clients as a lesbian.
The September, 2006 suit was before Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler.
It was dismissed a few months later when Cowdin’s attorney, J. Michael Goldberg of Cleveland, stopped filing the papers necessary to keep it going. Cowdin says she thinks Goldberg stopped practicing law, adding that she is satisfied with the outcome anyway.
Goldberg did not respond to repeated calls from the Chronicle.
Cowdin was contracted as an artist in 2005 by Ohio Wholesale, a Seville giftware company. She says that Morris introduced her to co-workers as a lesbian several days after she started. This prompted some to ask her about a lesbian relationship they thought she was having with another employee.
A month later, Cowdin overheard colleagues at lunch discussing among themselves whether or not she is lesbian.
At a trade show in Los Angeles, Morris introduced Cowdin to a meeting by saying, “If you ever want to know what a lesbian looks like, look at Deby Cowdin.”
Later that day, according to court papers, Cowdin filed a complaint to Morris’ supervisor over that remark. A month later, co-workers told her that her “days were numbered” because she had become a “troublemaker.”
Cowdin is LGBT-affirming, but she is not lesbian. The suit was not anti-lesbian, but about the inappropriate and mean-spirited way the comment was made in the workplace.
“For me it was never about the money,” said Cowdin, “It was the principle of the whole thing.”
“The reason for the suit was I didn’t like how I was treated,” Cowdin said, adding that she didn’t want anyone else treated the same way regardless of their sexual orientation.
Cowdin left Ohio Wholesale in 2007. According to her, Morris left the company about two months after she did. She believes he is now living in Dayton.
“My point was made,” said Cowdin of the suit. “I just didn’t want him to get away with it any more.”
Cowdin now operates a company with her husband Scott and her daughter, which creates gifts using wine bottles recycled from Cleveland restaurants.