Call it RICO not so suave. One of the nation’s biggest legal headhunting firms, Major, Lindsey & Africa, is withdrawing its RICO action against a former employee — after a federal judge offered a somewhat snarky assessment of the merits of MLA’s case.

As reported by Leigh Jones over at the National Law Journal, on Thursday attorneys for MLA submitted a notice of dismissal to Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.). The notice declared Major Lindsey’s intent to withdraw its claims against former Sharon Mahn, a former managing director at MLA, without prejudice, in order to bring such claims in arbitration and/or state court.

Perhaps MLA read the writing on the courtroom wall. The move to dismiss came after Judge McMahon ladled out some judicial sauce….

Two days before the notice of dismissal, Judge McMahon issued an order expressing that she wasn’t interested in hearing “bogus” claims or “trumped up” charges. Sounds like ahint. One wonders whether Her Honor, known as a no-nonsense judge — remember this Quote of the Day? — was reacting to MLA’s pleading of the civil RICO statute. (A commenter on our earlier post opined: “Lame. Garden variety trade secret/unfair competition lawsuit dressed up as RICO because the plaintiff hopes to coerce a quick settlement.”)

The case was already whittled down even prior to the notice of dismissal, as the NLJ notes:

McMahon on Tuesday threw out Major Lindsey’s claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and denied the company’s motion for expedited discovery. The judge said that she could consider only claims for injunctive relief and “not a dime in damages.” Damages claims, she wrote, belonged in the pending arbitration action between the parties.

Judge McMahon’s order expressed the view that it was “highly unlikely” that MLA could obtain injunctive relief. Considering that Mahn was fired from MLA almost a year ago, in October 2009, it’s not clear what type of injunction MLA would want (and could still benefit from).

Never a dull moment in the hypercompetitive, dog-eat-dog work of legal recruiting. We might do more stories in this area. If you have any juicy tidbits to share, feel free to email us (subject line: “Legal Recruiting”).

Major Lindsey withdraws lawsuit against former recruiter [National Law Journal]

Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Major Lindsey Files RICO Action Against Former Employee
Quote of the Day: And maybe the Court worked one summer as a waitress, too?

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If you’re a thriving legal recruiter with the wherewithal to work with us — not every search firm does, thanks to the recession — feel free to email [email protected]. Thanks.


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