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In a same-sex sexual harassment case, a federal judge has ruled that the defense lawyer cannot ask the plaintiff if he is gay because a plaintiff’s sexual preference has “no probative value at all” in determining whether he was offended by the alleged harasser’s conduct.

In his seven-page opinion in Fitzpatrick v. QVC Inc., U.S. District Judge Bruce W. Kauffman found that evidence of a plaintiff’s sexual predisposition is usually inadmissible at trial under Federal Rule of Evidence 412, a rule that effectively extended the rape-shield laws into the civil, sexual harassment context.

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