We’ve been following the lawsuit filed by former Covington & Burling staff attorney Yolanda Young against Covington. She alleged that various incidents of racial discrimination derailed her Covington career.
Covington denied those claims.
Today, we have a judgment. Attorneys from Akin Gump — which represents Covington in this matter — sent out the following press release, earlier today:
United States District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton today dismissed Yolanda Young’s lawsuit against Covington & Burling LLP after Ms. Young and her attorney failed to appear for a court hearing.
Young filed her complaint in February 2009 against Covington and five of its present or former lawyers. Covington answered, denying Ms. Young’s allegations. Separately, on March 11, Covington filed a motion to strike certain of plaintiffs’ allegations on the grounds that they were false and scandalous, a motion which plaintiff neither responded to nor disputed. In addition, two of the individual lawyer defendants moved for dismissal for failure to state a claim against them, which the Court granted on May 28.
The Court on May 14 issued an order warning plaintiff that her failure to abide by the Rules and participate in a meet and confer conference might be treated as grounds for dismissal. Today’s hearing was scheduled more than two months ago. When neither Ms. Young nor her attorney, Latif Doman, appeared for the hearing or contacted the Court, Judge Walton dismissed the case without prejudice for want of prosecution.
Talk about anticlimactic.
After the jump, more details from the order.
Young’s case fell apart early this morning. According to the order, an initial status conference was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today. Neither Young nor her attorney appeared at the conference. Having failed to show up for the 9:30 meeting, the case was dismissed by 11:30 this morning.
We reached out to Ms. Young, but she declined to comment on today’s events. It is at this point unclear if she knew about the conference, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be her attorney today.
But the court also cited other examples of Young “impede[ing] the defendant’s ability to defend against this action.”
The case was dismissed without prejudice.
This is a pretty sweet deal for Covington. The firm gets all the benefit of a settlement (no discovery, no depositions, no lingering issues), but with the full force of a victory the firm can tout in the press. It’s a first round knock down, without having to work up a sweat.
Will there be a round two?
Read the full order below.
Young v. Covington.pdf [PDF]
Earlier: Covington and Its ‘Staff Attorney Ghetto’?
Covington & Burling Staff Attorneys: An Endangered Species?