The Precinct steakhouse is seeking summary judgment in a sex harassment suit brought by former server Christy Yunger.
Restaurant attorney Robert A. Pitcairn Jr. said even when the court accepts Ms. Yunger's evidence as true, she has no case: She offered no evidence of a sexually charged, hostile environment.
"It is arguable at best that the alleged harassment was unwelcome," Mr. Pitcairn said.
Her suit, filed in October by attorney Robert L. Laufman in U.S. District Court, seeks reinstatement plus unspecified damages. She claims she had to quit because co-workers harassed her and managers failed to protect her.
Mr. Pitcairn said Ms. Yunger admitted joking about oral sex with co-workers when they went out for drinks after work.
However, he said, that did not excuse the "sophomoric" incident in which bartender Mike Daffin exposed himself after hours in the restaurant, and assistant manager David Wilson suggested Ms. Yunger might enjoy oral sex with Mr. Daffin, who had a physical anomaly.
Mr. Pitcairn said The Precinct had a clear, posted policy against sexual harassment and Ms. Yunger availed herself of it three days later.
She complained and manager Tony Ricci put both men on 30-day probation and required them to apologize.
Mr. Daffin quit. Mr. Wilson apologized but Mr. Ricci stiffened the penalty to a two-week unpaid suspension after owner Jeff Ruby said a financial penalty was required.
Mr. Pitcairn said Ms. Yunger resigned a few days later during a management investigation of another co-worker's allegation that she smoked marijuana at The Precinct, at 311 Delta Ave., Columbia Tusculum.
Summary judgment can end a case before trial. It is used when everyone agrees on the central facts and the judge only has to decide whom the law favors.
It could be weeks before U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith hands down her decision. First, Ms. Yunger and attorney Mr. Laufman will have an opportunity to file their answer. Even then, Judge Beckwith can schedule a hearing in open court.