News Briefing
Dec 05, 2013 | 453 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lesbian widow receives money

Jennifer Tobits’ three-year struggle to obtain the death benefits of her deceased wife has ended.

On Nov. 18, Tobits received a check for $43,822.35, said Christopher F. Stoll, an attorney for Tobits.

“It’s a great result for Jennifer,” Stoll told PGN. “And the decision in the case is going to be very important for same-sex married couples all over the country who want to be treated the same as every other married couple for purposes of their employer-retirement plan.”

Tobits and her late wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley, lived in Illinois, where Farley worked as an attorney at the law firm of Cozen O’Connor. They were married in Canada in 2006.

After Farley died in 2010, Tobits and Farley’s parents clashed over the death benefits Farley had accrued at Cozen.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones 2d awarded the benefits to Tobits, saying there could be “no doubt” she’s Farley’s surviving spouse.

The case was adjudicated in Pennsylvania because Cozen is headquartered in Philadelphia.

Trans litigant still seeks jury trial

Janis Stacy, a transwoman who alleges wrongful termination from her engineering job, continues to seek a jury trial in her case.

Stacy claims she was terminated at LSI Corp. due to gender, gender identity and disability bias.

But on Nov. 13, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Stacy’s case, citing insufficient evidence of discrimination.

The judges who served on the panel are D. Michael Fisher, Kent A. Jordan and Dolores K. Sloviter.

On Nov. 27, Stacy’s attorneys filed a 14-page legal brief, asking that all the judges on the appeals court consider her case.

Stacy’s attorneys maintain the panel incorrectly reduced the evidentiary value of Stacy’s testimony about discriminatory comments allegedly made by LSI officials.

Additionally, Stacy’s attorneys said the panel overlooked a “crucial” 2008 email indicating that LSI officials targeted Stacy for termination prior to assessing her skills.

Stacy, of Kunkletown, worked at LSI for about 10 years prior to her termination in 2008.

LSI maintained Stacy was terminated due to an “adverse economy” and because Stacy lacked the requisite skills to help move the company forward.

— Timothy Cwiek Choir sings for hunger relief

The Anna Crusis Women’s Choir will tackle the issue of hunger in its concert series, “Hungry for Justice.”

The concert will be held 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive. The series will raise awareness about two anti-hunger organizations in the area: Philabundance and the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance.

For ticket information, visit www.annacrusis.org.

— Angela Thomas

Art, culture at bazaar

The Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia will host its annual Tibetan Bazaar Dec. 6-7.

The event will feature handmade goods from Tibetan communities-in-exile in India and Nepal, including silverwork, textiles and other wares. The festival will also include the creation of a sand mandala by an award-winning sand artist and a slide presentation by a Tibetan photographer.

Proceeds benefit the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia.

For more information, call 610-212-4827 or email ivee@verizon.net.

— Jen Colletta

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