Many discrimination cases brought against law firms end in quiet settlements. But I suspect that Alexandra Marchuk’s lawsuit against Faruqi & Faruqi and one of its top partners, Juan Monteverde, could go the distance and make it to trial.
Why? The case just seems so heated and so personal, and both parties are litigating it in a no-holds-barred style.
Consider the latest move in the case, a declaration of intent to seek sanctions….
It appears in Alexandra Marchuk’s answer to the second amended counterclaims. As you may recall, the counterclaims rest upon the Faruqi firm’s allegation that Marchuk defamed the firm in her lawsuit and circulated her defamatory claims by email. The Faruqis and Monteverde seek $15 million in damages from Marchuk.
Here is the introduction to Marchuk’s answer, in which she responds to this allegation and announces her intent to seek sanctions:
The foundational allegation for the Counterclaims is that Ms. Marchuk maliciously used email address firstname.lastname@example.org to forward her Complaint anonymously to Mr. Monteverde’s wife, and others, to defame Defendants and interfere with their business. On June 14, 2013, however, Google produced bombshell information squarely contradicting the Counterclaims. Google disclosed that email@example.com was created on March 13, 2013 by someone accessing the Internet from an IP address assigned to F&F in New York! Therefore, whether to frame Ms. Marchuk for the actions that Defendants immediately then sued her for, or as part of a dysfunctional intra-firm dispute between Mr. Monteverde and another F&F employee, someone at F&F’s New York office established firstname.lastname@example.org and used it to send Plaintiff s complaint to Ms. Monteverde and, allegedly, others.
Consequently, having had no factual basis for asserting the Counterclaims in the first place, Defendants for more than two months have known that they wrongly sued Ms. Marchuk for $15 million for something that F&F’s own employee(s) did. It was bad enough that Defendants did not promptly withdraw their Counterclaims after receiving Google’s knockout disclosure, but for Defendants now to reassert the same discredited Counterclaims in response to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint is an unconscionable abuse of the legal process.
At the culmination of this action, Plaintiff will ask the Court to impose sanctions against Defendants and their counsel for their bad-faith prosecution of the Counterclaims. Plaintiff will ask the Court, among other things, to impose a per diem sanction against Defendants and their counsel from June 14, 2013, the day that Google verified what Defendants undoubtedly already knew: that Defendants were frivolously suing Plaintiff for $15 million for conduct committed by Defendants’ own employees — and continuing to the day that Defendants’ voluntarily withdraw their frivolous and abusive Counterclaims, or they are otherwise dismissed.
What are Marchuk’s lawyers, Harry Lipman and Thomas Chase of Rottenberg Lipman Rich, going for here? It strikes me as a public relations move, a way of expressing indignation about the counterclaims to the many people following this case. I doubt that Lipman and Chase think they can actually get the defendants to drop the counterclaims; the Faruqis and Monteverde aren’t so easily cowed.
Or so easily shamed. The Faruqis and Juan Monteverde aren’t letting this lawsuit distract them from their core business, as Daniel Fisher recently noted over at Forbes:
In a 19-page complaint that draws heavily from materials easily accessed on the Internet, the Faruqi & Faruqi partner lays out his case that the officers and directors of Verizon abandoned their fiduciary duty to shareholders and paid too much in the long-debated [acquisition of Vodafone's 45 percent interest in their Verizon Wireless joint venture]. The evidence consists of an analyst’s quote in a Reuters story, Moody’s downgrade of Verizon bonds after the news, and the 10% drop in Verizon stock on the announcement of the third-largest takeover in history.
Monteverde’s studied conclusion: “It is evident that Verizon has overpaid.”
This is the kind of lawsuit you expect from Faruqi & Faruqi, who dwell on the outer edges of the securities-litigation business and rarely appear as lead attorneys in a major case. But it also strays into the realm of Anthony Weiner-like compulsive behavior, in my opinion.
Alexandra Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi: Plaintiff’s Answer to Defendants’ Second Amended Counterclaims [U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York]
Ex-Faruqi Atty Seeks Sanctions In Sex Harassment Suit [Law360 (sub. req.)]
The Anthony Weiner Of Class Actions Sues Over Verizon/Vodafone Deal [Forbes]
Earlier: Alexandra Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi: The ‘He Said, She Said’ Battle Rages On
Alexandra Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi: The Latest Allegations
The Delaware Court Of Chancery Seems Annoyed With Juan Monteverde
Can This Litigation Get Any Uglier? Alexandra Marchuk Amends Her Complaint Against Faruqi & Faruqi
Faruqi & Faruqi: A Kinder, Gentler Law Firm?
Lawsuit of the Day: Nobody Puts Faruqi in the Corner
Lawsuit of the Day: A Super-Salacious Suit Against A ‘Legend’ of the Bar