I really, really hope that somewhere out there, Thomas W. Gooch III feels like a giant tool. A few days ago, Gooch, of the law firm Gauthier & Gooch, wrote a motion objecting to a “large breasted woman” sitting at opposing counsel’s table. He questioned the woman’s qualifications and accused opposing counsel, Dmitry Feofanov, of planting her there to distract the jury.

We wrote about Feofanov’s response. He said the woman is his paralegal. But that response didn’t satisfy Gooch, who told the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Personally, I like large breasts,” Gooch said. “However, I object to somebody I don’t think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table — when there’s already two lawyers there — dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself.”

Well, it turns out that Gooch has been ogling, scrutinizing, and questioning the qualifications of Feofanov’s wife.

Dude… not cool.

Feofanov has furnished us with a statement, accompanied by a tasteful picture of his allegedly offensively-figured wife…

As a married man, I appreciate the restraint of Dmitry Feofanov. Because if somebody made a national issue out of my wife’s boobs and whether or not she was planted somewhere to distract a jury, I’d likely take that as “fighting words.” Instead of marching over to Gooch’s table and saying, in the Jack Bauer voice, “Are you looking at my wife’s breasts? ARE YOU LOOKING AT MY WIFE’S BREASTS?”, Feofanov offered this statement (reprinted in full below):

My office is a one-lawyer office, ChicagoLemonLaw.com. I sue car dealers and car manufacturers for breaches of warranties and fraud. As in many small businesses and law offices, my wife, Daniella Atencia, is my office manager, my paralegal, my secretary, and my bill-payer. I have been brought up believing that it is not professional to try cases in the press, but recent negative comments about my wife leave me no choice but to respond.

Ms. Atencia is a university graduate, who studied, among other subjects, law. She is actually over-qualified as a paralegal, because many, if not most, paralegals do not go to college or do not obtain a university degree. Ms. Atencia has participated in every trial I have had since 2008. She provided valuable assistance not only to me but also to my co-counsel in many areas, including exhibit preparation. Her particular strength is jury selection. Her conduct has always been completely professional. Ms. Atencia participated in the trial where I obtained a six-figure verdict against Exotic Motors, the defendant in the current case. Most recently, Ms. Atencia participated in a trial in downstate Illinois, where we obtained a record verdict of $135,000 punitive damages against a car dealer. Ms. Atencia had been awarded paralegal fees for paralegal work in contested fee petitions by two judges in Cook County, in cases where defendants vigorously objected to her time claiming her work was of a secretarial nature, only to be overruled.

Daniella Atencia

Feofanov provided a picture of his wife. She looks like a regular, attractive woman to me.

In fact, I’m pretty sure this is only happening to Daniella Atencia because she’s a woman. If Feofanov’s paralegal was a man, I doubt Gooch would have even noticed — and he certainly wouldn’t have filed a motion asking about his qualifications.

But because Atencia is a woman with, yes, boobs, I think Gooch thought it was fair game to say, “Hey, who is she? What is she doing here?”

Well, bad news, Gooch; she’s taken. Maybe you can leave her and her husband alone now and go back to doing your job?


STATEMENT OF DMITRY FEOFANOV

My office is a one-lawyer office, ChicagoLemonLaw.com. I sue car dealers and car manufacturers for breaches of warranties and fraud. As in many small businesses and law offices, my wife, Daniella Atencia, is my office manager, my paralegal, my secretary, and my bill-payer. I have been brought up believing that it is not professional to try cases in the press, but recent negative comments about my wife leave me no choice but to respond.

Ms. Atencia is a university graduate, who studied, among other subjects, law. She is actually over-qualified as a paralegal, because many, if not most, paralegals do not go to college or do not obtain a university degree. Ms. Atencia has participated in every trial I have had since 2008. She provided valuable assistance not only to me but also to my co-counsel in many areas, including exhibit preparation. Her particular strength is jury selection. Her conduct has always been completely professional. Ms. Atencia participated in the trial where I obtained a six-figure verdict against Exotic Motors, the defendant in the current case. Most recently, Ms. Atencia participated in a trial in downstate Illinois, where we obtained a record verdict of $135,000 punitive damages against a car dealer. Ms. Atencia had been awarded paralegal fees for paralegal work in contested fee petitions by two judges in Cook County, in cases where defendants vigorously objected to her time claiming her work was of a secretarial nature, only to be overruled.

Ms. Atencia is quite shocked at the tenor of comments pertaining to her physical appearance and regarding her qualifications and professionalism, especially since the latter make those claims without a shred of evidence. If there is a problem with decorum in the court room, our judges are capable of addressing it as it arises, not based on conjecture and innuendo. Ms. Atencia resents this violation of her privacy and thinks it is unprofessional to subject her to attacks on her abilities and qualifications just because she comes to court to assist me in trying cases. She thinks the comments made about her have no place in the twenty-first century.

Dmitry Feofanov
ChicagoLemonLaw.com, P.C.
Feofanov@ChicagoLemonLaw.com

Chicago lawyer objects to buxom woman at trial table [Chicago Sun-Times]

Earlier: Motion of the Day: No Law Against Having Big-Breasted Colleagues


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