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Lawsuit of the Day: Nobody Puts Faruqi in the Corner


Alexandra Marchuk was sued today, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Federal Court (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York) by the law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi (“F&F”) and partner, Juan Monteverde, for intentionally defaming and damaging F&F’s and Mr. Monteverde’s reputations and business and for intentionally trying to ruin Mr. Monteverde’s career.

The F&F lawsuit is both an Answer to Ms. Marchuk’s March 13, 2013 complaint alleging claims of sexual harassment by Mr. Monteverde, and it asserts Counterclaims accusing Ms. Marchuk of defamation, tortious interference with business, among other wrongful conduct.

A spokesperson for F&F and Mr. Monteverde said: “We have filed this counter-lawsuit today against Ms. Marchuk because we believe her lawsuit was maliciously brought to extort money from F&F, to defame and damage F&F’s reputation and business, as well as the reputation of Juan Monteverde, with whom she was obsessed. Ms. Marchuk and/or her agents emailed her malicious and false complaint to clients of F&F, opposing counsel in F&F cases, as well as to Mr. Monteverde’s wife. This is a clear violation of the ‘Fair Comment Rule’ with the intent to damage the firm, Mr. Monteverde and other parties outside any relevance to the court proceeding.”

Lubna M. Faruqi and Nadeem Faruqi, sister and brother, who are the sole equity partners of their prominent class action law firm, said: “We are aware that the simple and easy course of least resistance is to quell the controversy and suggest that Mr. Monteverde find employment elsewhere. Although he exercised very poor judgment and has been disciplined by F&F, we are convinced that he did not commit sexual harassment, that our firm is not a hostile workplace, and that he does not deserve to have his promising future forever tarnished by letting these allegations go unanswered. Just as we seek justice for our clients, we equally seek justice for our colleagues. We are doing the right and fair thing by fighting back against these false allegations to insure that the truth prevails.”

The Counterclaims note that on December 22, 2011, Ms. Marchuk, a first-year associate who had been at the firm for three and one-half months, abruptly sent an email to Lubna and Nadeem Faruqi, stating that she was resigning and had seen an employment attorney whom she did not identify. Ms. Marchuk specifically instructed them not to contact her. She did not state why she was resigning nor allege that she had been sexually harassed. The Faruqis did not hear another word from Ms. Marchuk or anyone acting on her behalf for more than nine months. It was not until October, 1, 2012, when they received a letter from Ms. Marchuk’s counsel did they learn of Ms. Marchuk’s spurious allegations. On March 13, 2013, almost 15 months after her resignation, Ms. Marchuk commenced this lawsuit.

The Counterclaims continue that Ms. Marchuk first met Mr. Monteverde when she was a summer associate at F&F in 2010. When she became a first-year associate in September 2011, she specifically asked to work with Mr. Monteverde. At the time, she was admittedly deeply in debt and preoccupied with her finances. After a brief, completely consensual sexual encounter, Mr. Monteverde (then a 32-year old non-equity partner) made it clear that it could not happen again. Ms. Marchuk now alleges that Mr. Monteverde forcibly had sexual intercourse with her and sexually harassed her at other times, and that Lubna and Nadeem Faruqi, as well as another F&F female partner, did nothing when she complained. There was no sexual intercourse, forced or otherwise; there was no sexual harassment, and there were no complaints.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., by Ron Green, Barry Asen, and Victoria Sloan, represents Faruqi & Faruqi and Mr. Monteverde.

Faruqi v Marchuk by Above the Law

Law Firm Partner Accused of Sexual Harassment Fires Back [DealBook / New York Times]
Faruqi & Faruqi hits ex-associate with $15 mln counterclaim [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
Sued by ex-associate, partner and law firm file $15M counterclaim, call her ‘obsessed’ [ABA Journal]

Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: A Super-Salacious Suit Against A ‘Legend’ of the Bar

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