University settles sexual harassment case
Columbia settled the lawsuit filed by Ph.D. student Alberto Leguina, who alleged his Medical Center supervisor sexually harassed him and then unfairly fired him last June after complaining to the University.
After the University filed a counterclaim in September 2012, a mediator was assigned to the case in October. Court documents said “on or about March 3, the parties reached a settlement in principle with the assistance of the court-appointed mediator.”
Leguina alleged that after he rejected the advances of Qais Al-Awqati, a professor of medicine, nephrology, and hypertension, the supervisor grew angry with him. According to the lawsuit, another supervisor and a human resources representative failed to support Leguina or help him file a complaint, which Leguina contended led to his firing.
The parties entered into a stipulation of confidentiality and agreed protective order on Jan. 9. In addition, Leguina said in an email on May 28 that the settlement made all details private and prevented him from commenting any further on the case.
A Columbia spokesperson said the University held with its prior statement that it could not comment on pending litigation. While the parties have reached a settlement, the case is still technically pending, with the next case management conference scheduled for July 15.
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