Biglaw, Lawyer of the Day

Lawyer of the Day: Sidley Austin Attorney Arrested for Allegedly Blindsiding Biker, and Now He’s Being Sued

Tensions between cyclists and pedestrians are always high in big cities, especially a city like New York. When walking on extremely crowded sidewalks, it’s never a pleasant experience to be nearly blindsided as some dude on a bike whizzes by at high speed without a care in the world. We pedestrians are arguably more balanced than those riding bicycles — if one of us got knocked down, we might complain about a scraped knee for a week or two before getting over it. It wouldn’t really be that big of a deal.

But if a cyclist gets knocked down, the consequences could be much worse, and one Sidley Austin lawyer is learning just what a big deal something like this can turn into once the courts are involved. Back in June, Marshall Feiring, tax counsel at Sidley Austin, was arrested and charged with third degree assault and second degree harassment after he allegedly stepped into the bike lane in Central Park and made contact with a female cyclist, causing her to crash.

As if the criminal charges weren’t enough, Feiring is now being sued over the incident….

According to DNAinfo, Feiring got involved in the turf war between pedestrians and cyclists when he “intentionally yanked a heavy-link chain around Courtney Fullilove’s shoulder after she swerved to avoid him.” Apparently Fullilove, a Columbia graduate who’s now a history professor at Wesleyan, was carrying her bike-lock chain around her torso (instead of in her backpack, like a normal person), and according to the civil complaint filed earlier this week, when Feiring allegedly made contact with Fullilove, he “pull[ed] her from her bicycle and slamm[ed] her forcefully to the ground.”

That sounds like it must have been painful. So painful, in fact, that Professor Fullilove alleges she’s been put out of work because of her injuries. From the complaint (available in full on the following page):

Dear Lord, this Sidley attorney has allegedly robbed Fullilove of her chance to attain the professorial prestige of tenure in the precise time frame in which she wanted it to occur. Oh, the outrage! Oh, the humanity!

Here are some additional details on Feiring’s criminal case and civil case, from DNAinfo:

Marshall D. Feiring

His next case appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court is Dec. 18.

His lawyer, Sanford Talkin, declined to discuss the incident, but vowed to take the case to trial.

“I won’t get into the details, but the complaint does not nearly have all the facts of the incident,” he said. “We’re looking forward to defending this case.”

Did anyone stop and think that this could have been an accident, and that Feiring didn’t have it out for bicyclists all across the land? Because as nice as it would be to push a biker and laugh your ass off while watching a serious case of road rash unfold, doing so on purpose really isn’t worth the damage to one’s career in Biglaw.

Schadenfreude can be fun, but let’s face it: sometimes attorneys get falsely accused. If Feiring goes to trial and prevails, it wouldn’t be the first time a Biglaw big-shot has gone to court and cleared his name.

(If you’re interested in seeing the complaint, it’s available in full on the next page.)

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