Sixth District state Rep. Will Coursey sued Nicole Cusic four weeks ago in Marshall Circuit Court alleging libel and defamation. Coursey represents Marshall and Lyon counties and one precinct in McCracken County in the Kentucky House. His lawsuit against Cusic stems from her naming him one of three defendants in a case Louisville attorney Thomas Clay filed on her behalf in Franklin County on Oct. 1.
Her complaint alleges that Coursey made sexually harassing comments about interns and Legislative Research Commission employees. Cusic claims that when she complained to Coursey about the comments, he retaliated by having her transferred from the House to the Senate offices. The other two defendants in Cusic’s suit are the LRC and its former director, Bobby Sherman.
Clay filed the motion asking for dismissal or transfer of Coursey’s complaint Friday, one day after the 20 days allowed for a defendant to answer a complaint. However, the motion was mailed Thursday, the deadline day. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 2 in Marshall Circuit Court. Coursey has adamantly denied Cusic’s allegations.
In his motion for dismissal or transfer Clay alleges:
n The plaintiff’s defamation claim is a compulsory counterclaim to Cusic’s lawsuit.
n Marshall Circuit Court is an improper venue for the plaintiff’s claims. “... Cusic does not reside in Marshall County nor has she ever been to Marshall County, so it is therefore impossible for her to have uttered slanderous statements in Marshall County,” the motion reads in part.
n Cusic cannot have an impartial jury trial in the county in which the plaintiff is the elected state representative.
In her original complaint, Cusic alleged she had been shunned and humiliated by Coursey’s actions. But in his answer to Cusic’s complaint, Coursey’s attorney, Mark Edwards of Paducah, alleged that:
n “Because of the plaintiff’s conduct in bragging about her sexual exploits and describing them in detail that nothing said in her presence would be considered sexually harassing to her, and further, any comments, which she considers to be sexually harassing were brought upon her by her own conduct.”
n The damages alleged of being shunned, humiliated, degraded, alienated and constantly uncomfortable are the result of her own actions in describing, in detail, her sexual exploits in front of other LRC workers, representatives, senators and visitors.
Edwards’ answer on behalf of Coursey, demands the complaint be dismissed and that the plaintiff recover nothing; a trial by jury; court costs and expenses including attorney’s fees. The answer also claims the plaintiff’s lawsuit fails to “state a claim against Coursey for which relief may be granted;” that the claim was filed after the statute of limitations “and is time barred and must be dismissed;” and that Cusic failed to plead any employment action that was adverse to her.
Coursey’s complaint against Cusic in Marshall County alleges that her accusations were made “maliciously and with a reckless disregard for the truth and with willful disregard for (Coursey’s) reputation.” He asks for punitive as well as compensatory damages.