As longtime readers will recall, Deidre Dare (real name: Deidre Clark) was a Columbia Law School graduate who worked in the Moscow office of Allen & Overy. Everything was going swimmingly, until Clark decided to write some erotic fiction on the side — erotic fiction that may have been based in part on Clark’s experiences working as an expat in Russia. One thing led to another, and Clark’s employment at A&O was terminated.
Clark sued the firm in London, alleging her firing was improper; that suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. She then sued in New York, making claims for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation, among other claims.
When we interviewed her last year, Clark (a member of the New York bar) sounded confident about her chances of success in the Big Apple: “I think NY will take jurisdiction. And thank God for that.”
So, was Clark correct? Will her suit be moving forward in New York?
Yes. In a 12-page decision handed down late last week, Justice Marcy S. Friedman of the Supreme Court of New York denied Allen & Overy’s motion to dismiss with respect to almost all of the counts in the complaint. Justice Friedman dismissed the third count, for wrongful termination, noting the “at will” nature of Clark’s employment. But Justice Friedman allowed seven other counts to stand, including the counts for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation. You can read the full decision, which turns upon such fun topics as substantial nexus and domicile, over here. (It might be good review for anyone studying for a Civ Pro final.)
We reached out to the parties for reaction. A spokesperson for Allen & Overy offered this brief statement: “We have always been entirely satisfied that the termination of Ms. Clark’s employment was justified and lawful. We remain committed to defending Ms. Clark’s claim vigorously.”
Deidre Clark was, unsurprisingly, more effusive. She gushed to us, via email: “I won against Allen & Overy! Isn’t it amazing?”
“Amazing” is something of an overstatement. As is “won.” Clark just made it past a motion to dismiss; no liability has been established, to say nothing of damages.
(But considering that Clark is a transactional lawyer representing herself pro se, surviving the MTD is no small feat — so congrats to her for that at least. Perhaps A&O, despite its current stated intent “to defend Ms. Clark’s claim vigorously,” will quietly settle at a later point in time, to make this matter go away?)
Clark continued: “I am drinking Champagne. This day has been long awaited. It’s hard pro se to win against A&O and Proskauer — but I did it. Hats off to the NY justice system. I never really had any doubts but I was exuberant all the same.”
“Exuberant” is not an understatement. If you like, flip to the next page, where you can view a video that Deidre Dare made of herself, celebrating her victory.
UPDATE (11:40 AM): We originally had some issues with the video, but we’ve fixed them. The video, stripped of sound, is now available on the next page.