A federal court on Tuesday dealt a setback to a woman who claims U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings subjected her to sexual harassment and retaliation when he was co-chairman of an independent U.S. agency.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein dismissed the claim, saying Winsome Packer would have to direct her lawsuit toward the commission that employs her, not Hastings himself.
"It doesn't in any way address the validity of our client's claims against Representative Hastings," said Jim Peterson, the Judicial Watch attorney who filed the suit on Packer's behalf. "And it doesn't any way end the lawsuit. What happened today is the court decided what track upon which the case will proceed."
"Our client will still get her day in court to prove the unlawfulness of his conduct," he added. "It's in no way a defeat."
The lawsuit alleges that Packer, who worked for a House commission that Hastings led, was subjected to a "never-ending barrage of unwanted sexual advances" and was threatened and intimidated when she tried to report Hastings' behavior.
Hastings, a Democrat from Miramar, has called the assertions "ludicrous" and said he'd "never sexually harassed anyone." A former federal judge himself, Hastings on Tuesday said he appreciated the court’s ruling.