Aaron Charney, Arthur Leonard, Biglaw, Gay

Brokeback Lawfirm: Professor Art Leonard Weighs In

Arthur Leonard Professor Arthur S Leonard Art Leonard Above the Law blog.jpgThis morning we drew your attention to Lavi Soloway’s analysis of the amended complaint in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. See here.
Now our other favorite Charneyblogger, Professor Arthur Leonard, has chimed in. You can access Professor Leonard’s substantive, detailed, and thoughtful post by clicking here.
Update (2:45 PM): Some excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

Here’s one highlight that caught our eye (emphasis added):

According to the complaint, shortly after the meeting, [S&C partner Gandolfo “Vince”] DiBlasi telephone Gallion with a settlement offer for “both Charney and Grinberg.” (Since Grinberg was not suing S&C, one wonders what this was about; but then the complaint more than once alleges that S&C threatened Grinberg, a Canadian in this country on a work visa, with deportation as a result of the events of this case.) According to Charney’s allegations in paragraph 175, after speaking with DiBlasi on the phone, “Gallion told Charney that ‘things are going to get very bad now’ and that S&C would likely seek civil and criminal charges against Charney.”

Sounds like Grinberg wasn’t in a bad position. Have everyone in the office think you’re gay, and collect a hefty settlement for it? Metrosexual men of the world, you have a cause of action.
As for the merits of Charney’s case, here is Professor Leonard’s take:

Daniel Serota Daniel L Serota Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgThe discrimination claim seems a bit stronger in [the amended complaint], although its biggest weakness is the heavy reliance on what Charney was purportedly told by another S&C associate, Daniel L. Serota (at right), about what various partners were saying about him and Grinberg. Clearly, the discrimination claim will turn very heavily on what Serota might say in a deposition, and if his testimony doesn’t back up Charney’s allegations, that part of the case may well collapse, since it seems likely that the various S&C partners will deny alot of this under questioning.

But it’s hard to say, ultimately, because we are really in new territory on the discrimination claim, in the sense that the relatively recently amended city Human Rights Law attempts to render largely irrelevant federal and state law hostile environment case law in construing the city ordinance, as well as retaliation law. So in some sense Justice Fried will be writing on a clean slate when called upon to rule on a post-discovery motion for summary judgment, in the absence of controlling appellate precedent on how the amendments may have changed the now-familiar legal tests under Title VII in particular.

The whole post is a good read. Check it out here.
Charney v Sullivan & Cromwell, Take 2 [Arthur Leonard / Leonard Link]

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