Updated Thursday: Matters still to be decided, prior to the start of the trial, include whether it will be a jury trial or one heard and decided by the judge, said plaintiff's attorney William Becker.
Plaintiff Coppedge is fine with a bench trial, Becker said.
Another consideration for the judge is whether to allow into evidence -- as well as view or allow a jury to view -- an intelligent design DVD Coppedge offered to lend a colleague.
"JPL is interested in the origin of the universe and life, so we think it's an imporant issue,'' Becker said.
Trial was continued to Friday. Initially thought to be bumped to Thursday, a late Wednesday afternoon ruling continued the case to 10:45 a.m. Friday.
Wednesday 4 p.m.: Trial has been continued until Thursday, according to the Department 54 clerk.
Earlier: A jury trial is slated to begin Wednesday morning for the former JPL system administrator who claims he was fired from the space agency because of his discussions and promotion of intelligent design.
David Coppedge has sued Caltech, which operates for NASA, claiming religious discrimination and retaliation, harassment and wrongful demotion. Officials removed Coppedge from a lead system administrator position on the Cassini mission to Saturn in 2010, and was let go in 2011. Some 200 workers were laid off that same year due to budgetary constraints.
Denying the allegations, in documents filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, JPL officials allege that Coppedge received a written warning because Coppedge allegedly harassed co-workers about his beliefs.
In March 2009, Coppedge said, a co-worker complained that Coppedge harassed her by offering to lend her the intelligent design documentary “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” Intelligent design is defined by Wikipedia as "the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.''
Coppedge attributes his demotion and termination to religious discrimination and retaliation. However, according to JPL, Coppedge lost the team lead due to ongoing conflicts with Cassini customers, court documents state.
The plaintiff was "kept a prisoner of JPL's systemic ideological culture'' and constrained in his ability to express his views on ID, religion and politics,'' the court documents say.
Being stripped of his team leadership position was "embarrassing, degrading and humiliating,'' Coppedge claimed in court documents.
William Becker, an attorney with the nonprofit Alliance Defense Fund is representing Coppedge. Becker told the La Cañada Valley Sun that his client was punished for his Christian beliefs.
“They don't have a policy against discussing religion and politics, so they essentially singled him out. He was forbidden from doing something everybody else was allowed to do,” Becker was quoted in the Valley Sun article.
When asked about the litigation, JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor wrote in an email to Patchon Monday, "The suit is completely without merit and we intend to vigorously fight the allegations raised by Mr. Coppedge.''
The trial is scheduled to begin in Department 54 in the Los Angeles Civil Court house, 111 N. Hill St.