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Alexandra Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi: A Mental Case?

Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk

Alexandra Marchuk’s lawsuit against her former employer, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its top partners, Juan Monteverde, marches on. And this time the Faruqis are playing offense.

We previously noted the firm’s attempt to make Marchuk look like a bunny boiler — a mentally unstable young woman who was obsessed with Monteverde, the man whom she claims harassed her. And it looks like the firm is sticking to this strategy, trying to call into question Marchuk’s mental health.

Let’s take a look at their latest motion….

Here’s a report from Law360 (sub. req.):

Faruqi & Faruqi LLP renewed on Monday its effort to have a New York federal judge compel an assessment of the mental condition of former associate Alexandra Marchuk, as part of her ongoing $22 million sexual harassment suit against the firm.

The firm’s motion was denied on Nov. 8 after both parties said they’d agreed on an appointment for Marchuk to be evaluated by the law firm’s retained expert, Harvey M. Hammer, according to court records, but Marchuk skipped her appointment, the firm said.

Faruqi, its managing partners and Juan Monteverde, the partner accused of sexually harassing Marchuk, are seeking the assessment because Marchuk’s own testimony called into question her mental condition, according to the firm’s Monday motion.

“Plaintiff’s allegations have put her mental condition in controversy,” the firm wrote Monday. “She alleges that she experienced shame, embarrassment, anxiety, distress, fear, devastation, trauma and shock as a result of Monteverde’s actions during her brief employment at [Faruqi].”

So the defendants claim that Marchuk skipped out on her appointment. But is that really what happened? Not according to Harry Lipman, counsel to Marchuk, whom we contacted for comment:

This is a tempest in a teapot. Defendants insisted that her exam be pursuant to court order, so taking Defendants at their word, we could not allow the exam to go forward without a court order, which Defendants failed to obtain. Plaintiff remains ready, willing and able to attend an examination, and to stipulate to a Saturday on which to do so.

Remember that Marchuk has a new job and no longer lives in New York; she’s now in Omaha. It seems entirely reasonable to hold her mental health examination on a Saturday and with ample advance notice, so she won’t have to miss work and can travel to New York in a cost-effective manner. (Remember also that Marchuk has large student loans still hanging over her head, as previously disclosed in the litigation.)

But just because something is reasonable doesn’t mean it will end up happening that way. Welcome to litigation in 2013.

P.S. Marchuk’s lawsuit calls into question the professional environment at the Faruqi firm. Rather randomly, we recently heard from a former Faruqi lawyer who had to share an office with name partner Lubna Faruqi’s daughter, who was around four years old at the time. He’d be on conference calls, and she’d be watching Dora the Explorer in the background — an amusing scene to imagine.

But hey, when your name’s on the door, you can do whatever you want. Having your own law firm can be pretty awesome, right?

Faruqi Wants Mental Exam Of Former Atty Compelled [Law360 (sub. req.)]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi

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