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Scales of justice

In a legal filing two weeks ago, an attorney for Mountain View Regional Hospital broadly denied any wrongdoing — motivated by gender or otherwise — committed by the hospital in the firing of a female security officer two years ago.

The officer, Margaret Kozar, alleged in a federal lawsuit filed in June that she was passed over for a promotion to head security officer because of her gender and that she was terminated on spurious grounds shortly afterward. She also claimed that hospital management explicitly told her they wanted a younger, male employee in her stead.

In its response to the lawsuit, the hospital — which was purchased by Wyoming Medical Center in 2018 — denied all of those allegations.

It claims her firing from the hospital was not related to her age or gender, and added that any issues in the lawsuit were caused by others, including potentially Kozar herself.

Additionally, the hospital claims that it “took reasonable steps to prevent and/or promptly correct any claimed harassment and (Kozar) unreasonably failed to take advantage of (the hospital’s) preventative and/or corrective measures.”

One of the men who Kozar alleged to have told her the hospital wanted a man for the job, former hospital CEO Thomas Kopitnik, previously denied the allegations to the Star-Tribune. Reached by phone in early July, Kopitnik said he had “no recollection” of gender being a part of any hiring decisions.

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“I was never part of any discussions regarding Ms. Kozar that have been mentioned in the complaint,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper. “I found her to be a valuable employee during my time at MVRH.”

Mountain View’s attorney, Tim Stubson, said the entity behind the hospital — Casper Medical Center — still exists, even though the it has no employees and it’s building has been owned by Wyoming Medical Center for nearly 18 months.

The entity is thus liable for the lawsuit.

He said he and his client “strongly dispute” Kozar’s allegations and say her firing was a result of her performance.

Kozar’s attorney, Jeremy Hugus, previously did not return requests for comment.

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Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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