Lawsuit of the Day

If you’re looking to catch up on your reading of classic novels, I’d recommend Tess of the d’Urbervilles (affiliate link) — or, to use its complete title, “Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented.” It tells the story of a virtuous but destitute young woman who takes a job working for the wealthy d’Urberville family. While working for them, she receives unwanted advances from a libertine son, who develops an obsession with her. Complications ensue.

I was reminded of Tess of the d’Urbervilles upon reading a complaint that was just filed in federal district court here in New York. The complaint tells the story of a virtuous but debt-saddled young woman who takes a job working for a boutique law firm. While working for them, she receives unwanted advances from a libertine partner, who develops an obsession with her. Complications ensue.

Multiple sources brought the lawsuit to our attention. The complaint is going viral over email — partly because the allegations are shocking (and very sad if true), and partly because they’re being made against a prominent New York lawyer.

Let’s check out the complaint. At 24 pages, it’s much shorter than Tess of the d’Urbervilles….

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Harriet Tubman brought people out of bondage so they could live the dream of freedom. Rosa Parks staged an orchestrated protest against the civil rights abuses of the Jim Crow south. And now, Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield are continuing the fight for basic human rights by suing Alpha Kappa Alpha for hazing them with taunts like “weak bitches.”

Wait… that doesn’t sound right. Am I reading this right? Am I really looking at a lawsuit where two girls are suing a sorority and Howard University for a D.C. Human Rights violation because they didn’t get into a sorority?

Christ being rolled in Tiananmen Square, after the hazing and ostracism, the two girls ran home and told their mothers about it. And now the mothers are also plaintiffs against AKA and Howard with the standing of “Don’t you say anything bad about my baby” or something….

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There are only three occasions on which I order a Budweiser:

  • I haven’t decided what beer I want when it’s my turn to order and I say, “I’ll start with a Bud,” because I don’t want to stare at the waitress with my mouth hanging open like this is my first rodeo.
  • I haven’t decided if I want to get drunk with that person or group, so I order a Bud in a non-committal fashion that indicates, “I might have a pitcher of this, or I might leave a half drunk one on the table and bail. At the very least, I’ll be going to the bathroom soon to reassess.”
  • I’m at a sporting event, concert, kegger, or involved in a drinking game. Anything that says “it’s about the quantity not the quality.”

Absent those (more specific than you think) circumstances, I don’t drink Budweiser. Eww, gross, who does that? It tastes like nothing, goes through you like bullet, and says “I like TV commercials” to the general public.

But last week, Anheuser-Busch InBev got sued because a plaintiff alleges that the Buds (and other beers brewed by the company) have been purposefully watered down.

And here I thought that disreputable bars watered down their real beer with Bud Lights….

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It seems like law professors are constantly trying to trip up students during their Socratic torture sessions, and students have little choice but to sit back and take it. But as soon as a law professor trips, she runs to the courthouse to sue about it.

Somewhat reminiscent of the late Judge Robert Bork’s slip-and-fall at the Yale Club of New York City, apparently speaking on a lecture platform is a little too much work for professors, especially if the platform is “unreasonably small in width and depth.” It seems that even the most prominent of professors can fall prey to a simple lack of coordination.

It just goes to show that even people outside of Cardozo need walking instructions….

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If Law & Order were still around, this would make for a good episode. A Manhattan lawyer was accused by his sister-in-law of sexual assault. But now the lawyer has filed a countersuit claiming defamation. He says that he and his sister-in-law engaged in a consensual sexual relationship as he was trying to help her conceive.

Why does he say he did it? Because he respects her husband (his brother-in-law) so much!

You’ve got to love the self-importance of Manhattan attorneys….

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Pamela Levinson

You know what’s the mark of a good lawsuit against a law firm? The ability to polarize. Sure, it’s fun to laugh at the wacky ones, like Berry v. Kasowitz Benson or Morisseau v. DLA Piper. But the true classics are cases in which half the people think the plaintiff is a crusader for justice, and half the people think the plaintiff is an extortionist.

Take the 2007 lawsuit of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, brought by a young M&A lawyer claiming anti-gay discrimination. That was a great lawsuit. Some readers saw it as a Philadelphia for the 21st century, while others saw it as a shameless shakedown of a top law firm.

By this standard, Levinson v. WilmerHale is a good lawsuit. Readers can’t seem to agree on this one. Let’s check out the sharply divided opinions — and also hear more about Pamela Levinson, from former colleagues at the firm….

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Back in December, we wrote about a major employment discrimination case filed against Greenberg Traurig. That suit contained some salacious allegations, including claims that women lawyers had to sleep with superiors to get ahead.

Today brings news of another employment discrimination lawsuit filed against another top law firm. It’s being filed by the litigation boutique of Sanford Heisler LLP, which seems to be carving out a nice little niche in plaintiff-side Biglaw employment litigation.

Which firm is being sued this time, and what are the plaintiff’s allegations?

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Does teacher want to…. plaaaaaay?

Pedophobia, the fear of children, is not something that makes the news very much. It’s not like anybody who suffers from pedophobia gets to have a Facebook account unless they want to be bombarded with terrifying images of other people’s children.

Since we know that pedophilia is a real thing, I totally believe that pedophobia is a real thing. That makes sense.

But, just as I don’t want pedophiles teaching in schools, I’m not sure that a middle school is the best place for a pedophobe.

An Ohio teacher suffering from pedophobia agrees. She’s suing her former school district for failing to accommodate her disability by moving her from a high school to a middle school.

If she doesn’t win her employment discrimination case, maybe she’ll have a claim under the Eighth Amendment….

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Of all the ways to say ‘I love you’ this is the most boring.

I hate diamonds. Besides oil, no natural resource is responsible for as much suffering. Wars are fought over diamonds, totalitarian regimes are propped up with diamond money. It all happens because of anachronistic cultural traditions that tell us women should be dressed and adorned like dolls.

Today, western women buy into the convention — because, well, that’s what happens when an entire people is hobbled by generations of unequal treatment — but do not forget that giving engagement diamonds to women is a holdover from a time when a man would pay to buy off the bride from her father. A holdover that has been amped up by the modern diamond industry. It’d be like if every time a white employer hired a black person, they got to strip him down and check his teeth… you know, for old times’ sake. “Here’s your price, now cook me something and be quick about it so I don’t have to beat you” — is what every woman should hear when she receives a shiny bauble for her ring finger.

Of course, my wife wears a diamond engagement ring, because I’m not a freaking hero. In this ridiculous world, even if the woman says “I’m not really into that diamond stuff,” you can’t really be sure and you don’t want to insult her or her family by proposing with a shared New York Times subscription (that made more sense back in the 90s, trust me). Luckily, my wife and I have been able to resist the nearly constant overtures from the diamond industry ever since. Even though every season the television tries to tell us that I just don’t love her very much unless I’m committing 25 percent of my yearly income in a constant shower of stones.

To call the diamond industry “evil” is no overstatement, as reflected in a new lawsuit….

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Women often get the short end of the stick when it comes to upward mobility in their careers. Despite the fact that firms claim to be rectifying these inequities, for every two steps forward the legal industry takes, women seem to be pushed two steps back. Be it smaller salaries or fewer leadership opportunities, women lawyers are usually left holding the bag. It’s almost as if they’ve got to make up for what they lack (dangling genitalia), in all of their dealings.

Women already have a hard enough time as it is without being unfairly subjected to unspoken policies that affect both firm politics and partnership decisions. But, such is life when you’ve thrust yourself into the wonderful world of Biglaw, where the “boys club” reigns supreme, and women are essentially railroaded into the pink ghetto.

How would you like to work for a firm where men hog all of the origination credit, and do their damnedest to exclude women from client pitches? How would you like to work for a firm where women are encouraged to have intimate relationships with firm leaders in order to be promoted?

That doesn’t sound like a friendly working environment, but that’s exactly what a $200 million class action suit against Greenberg Traurig alleges….

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