COURT UPDATE: Listen to Audio From Manchester Funeral Protest Lawsuit

Listen to audio from the recent federal court hearing for Phelps v. the City of Manchester. Plus, Judy DeRose filed a motion to dismiss her employment discrimination lawsuit against the City of Manchester.

The United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals made available the audio of the oral arguments presented in downtown St. Louis by attorneys in the Phelps Roper v. City of Manchester case Jan. 9. 

(You can listen to the audio of the case in the PDF/Video portion of the story)

In 2010, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged  a city of Manchester ordinance restricting protests or pickets at funerals. The Westboro Baptist Church regularly pickets military funerals with signs such as "thank God for dead soldiers."

"I think we all can agree that defending our ordinance is the right thing to do. The cost of defending the case has been absorbed by our insurance company," Gunn said. He said although the city pays insurance premiums, it is not paying directly for the Westboro case. "We have not had to pay for that for years."

Discrimination Lawsuit Dropped

Judy DeRose, a former Manchester employee, has removed her discrimination lawsuit against Manchester after settling her case privately last December, according to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records service (PACER).

DeRose worked as Director of Parks for the city for 22 years until April of 2008. DeRose had claimed in her lawsuit she was allegedly fired because of her disability, age and gender. On May of 2011, she sued the city on six counts, asking for a total of $5,000,000 in damages.

However, on Oct. 26 of this year, a federal district judge struck down five of the counts, allowing the case to proceed on only one count, which claims employment discrimination based on age, sex and protected disability. The case was mediated between the parties in December, though there is no information available as far as what the mediation entailed.

"The claim was filed for what we call the nuisance value, which means we don't find merit in her claim, but it would have cost us more to defend it," Manchester City Attorney Patrick Gunn tells Patch.

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