Diocese, teacher fired after in vitro treatments file motions to dismiss discrimination suit

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FORT WAYNE, Indiana — Both the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and a former teacher who was fired after undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments have filed motions to dismiss a lawsuit.

Emily Herx filed a federal gender discrimination case against the diocese in 2012 after her contract wasn't renewed. She argued that the diocese treated male teachers in similar situations differently, and that she was discriminated against because she tried to become pregnant through the procedure a third time.

The diocese claims it chose not to renew Herx's contract to teach at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Fort Wayne because the in vitro fertilization treatments violated church teachings, not because she tried to become pregnant. Diocese attorneys have said Roman Catholic Church teachings condemn the procedure as evil.

Herx was initially awarded $1.9 million in damages, but that was reduced to $543,803 in January and then down to roughly $403,600 in August. The diocese appealed the verdict in August, and the two sides filed a joint motion to dismiss Tuesday.

Kathleen DeLaney, Herx's attorney, told The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/1SICGko ) the case has been settled, but declined to comment further. The lawsuit would come to an end if the motion to dismiss is granted by U.S. District Judge Robert Miller.

The diocese put $444,184 in a bank account for Herx in early October, following a court order. That money was to be held until the case concluded. The two sides filed a joint motion Friday asking to remove the restriction barring withdrawals, and Miller granted the request, according to court records.

The case was stayed Oct. 29, the docket for the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says. Herx also filed a noticed with the court Tuesday that releases the diocese from the August judgment.

Diocese spokeswoman Stephanie Patka said in an email that the diocese had no comment.

Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

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