Burks’ harassment case conference rescheduled

Published 11:25 pm Friday, July 27, 2012

The next move in Kenya Burks’ sexual harassment lawsuit against the city and Mayor Paul Winfield is hers, but it’s been delayed about two weeks.

A case management conference by phone is set for Aug. 14 before federal Magistrate John M. Roper, with Burks’ lawyers to initiate it, a case filing this week said. Initially, it was to take place Wednesday.

Burks is suing the city and Winfield for more than $1.5 million in the suit, active in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. It asks for a jury trial.

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In court filings, Burks, the mayor’s former chief of staff, claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment and retaliation after what she says was a soured consensual affair. Winfield has denied claims of sexual relations. Burks held her job title from July 2009 to April 2011.

Burks is represented by Nick Norris and Louis H. Watson Jr. of Jackson. Winfield is represented by attorneys Robert Gibbs and Vikki J. Taylor, and the city is represented by attorney Gary Friedman, all of Jackson. The first-term mayor has said the city’s defense costs will be reflected in premiums paid to its insurance carrier and that no city funds will pay Friedman directly.