Biglaw, Vermin / Rodents / Pests

MetLife Building Under Attack From Bedbugs: Four Law Firms Potentially Affected

Snoopy works from home instead of going to the MetLife Building.

This morning we reported on bedbugs at Winston & Strawn’s New York office. Alas, the problem might be much larger than we initially anticipated.

That’s because Winston & Strawn is located in the iconic MetLife building, at 200 Park Avenue in Manhattan. After this morning’s post went up, a spokesperson from Winston told us that all inquires about the bed bugs were being referred to the building’s landlord, real estate giant Tishman Speyer.

Are bedbugs crawling around the whole MetLife building? We don’t know yet; Tishman Speyer hasn’t returned our phone calls.

But if bed bugs are a threat to all the tenants of the MetLife building, there are three other law firms that could be getting very itchy…

We reached out to spokespeople for the three firms who share the posh address of 200 Park with Winston: Gibson Dunn, Greenberg Traurig, and Hunton & Williams. We’re still waiting to hear back from some of them — but even if the bed bugs were localized to only a few floors, one has to think the entire building is at risk.

A spokesperson from Greenberg Trauig said she wasn’t aware of the problems but would investigate the situation.

Regardless of how Gibson, Greenberg, and Hunton are handling it, the Winston people are taking it very seriously. Here’s the (somewhat hysterical) firm-wide alert:

Subject: IMPORTANT: Thursday, September 16 THIS IS NOT A TEST

To all personnel of the NY office: As we informed you yesterday, we have bed bugs in our office space. After a complete inspection of our office space last evening, which confirmed that our infestation is throughout our space, we have decided to implement liberal leave today, Thursday, September 16th. Anyone who has the ability to work remotely has the option to do so. Administrative staff who would like to stay home may do so by using a sick/personal day, and should call the absence hotline or their supervisor. If you are working remotely and have a need for administrative support of any kind, please contact Kathryn Schwyzer. Kathryn will be in the office, but can also be reached on her mobile phone at [redacted]. Further updates will be sent to you via this emergency broadcast system.

Here’s the real kicker: it’s interviewing season. These firms should be inviting law students over to their previously swank Manhattan offices for callback interviews and whatnot. But now, who the hell wants to go interview in a office plagued by bed bugs?

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the bedbugs decided to mount their offensive right now, on purpose. We know they’ve evolved to become resistant to certain types of pesticides. Maybe they’ve also evolved some kind of nascent, group-think, media sensibility.

Check back here for any updates we receive from Gibson, Greenberg, Hunton, or Tishman Speyer. Or maybe the bed bugs themselves will issue a press release.

UPDATE: A spokesperson from Tishman Speyer (landlords of the MetLife building) just issued this statement to Above the Law: “We are working closely with the tenant to treat the problem aggressively and eradicate it quickly.”

It sounds like Tishman is trying to keep the problem localized to Winston & Strawn’s floors without panicking the entire building.

Considering I just received a text message asking me if bed bugs can “cross New York City streets,” I’d say the proverbial horse might have already left its bug infested barn.

Earlier: Bedbugs Invade Winston & Strawn

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