OTTUMWA — Court records show the defendants in a suit by a former Ottumwa Water & Hydro employee tried but failed to get the woman’s attorney thrown off the case.

Guy Cook is representing Teresa Peden in the suit, which names the water works, former director Richard Wilcox and current employee Rodney Hamilton as defendants. Peden is seeking damages for Wilcox’s alleged sexual harassment, along with Hamilton and the water works’ alleged retaliation when she reported Wilcox.

Cook is the nephew of Guy Rich, a trustee for Ottumwa Water & Hydro. Court records show Peden’s husband called Rich, asking if he knew why his wife was upset about her job as the utility’s financial services director. Rich, in turn, called Cook seeking his input.

Rich said in a sworn statement that he turned to Cook when he had legal questions and also referred people he knew to his nephew for advice.

Michael Moreland, attorney for the water works and for Hamilton, sought to have Cook removed because of that conversation. At issue was whether Cook received confidential or material information about Peden’s situation that could give him an unfair advantage at trial or in preparations for the trial. Scott Wormsley, Wilcox’s attorney, joined the motion.

Cook, acting as Peden’s attorney, resisted the motion.

Judge Joel Yates denied the motion. He ruled that the defendants failed to meet the burden of proof their motion required.

The case, filed last May, is slowly moving toward trial. Defendants have until the end of the month to designate expert witnesses. A three or four-day trial is scheduled for Aug. 10.

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com

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