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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Bus driver's suit against Fulton County MRDD shifted to U.S. court

WAUSEON - A lawsuit filed against the Fulton County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities by one of its bus drivers, who says she was treated in a discriminatory manner because she is a lesbian, was moved to U.S. District Court in Toledo yesterday from Fulton County Common Pleas Court in Wauseon, where it was filed last month.

Angela Dawn Tripp is asking for $875,000 in a suit against the board and one of its former superintendents, Dan Pfahl.

Ms. Tripp, who lives in Delta in eastern Fulton County and is openly involved in a homosexual relationship, said in the lawsuit that Mr. Pfahl told her he did not approve of her lifestyle and that it was against his religion. She accuses him of giving her poorer reviews than other employees doing a similar job, requiring her to pay phone charges that were not billed to other employees, and making it known in the workplace that it was OK to harass and ridicule her.

In the suit she alleges five counts: deprivation of constitutional rights and privileges, conspiracy to deprive persons of equal protection of the laws, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and retaliation. She asks for $75,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages for each count.

She demands a jury trial in the suit.

The disabilities board has two other suits filed by former employees that are pending against it, one in federal court and one in the county common pleas court.

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