Discrimination

Here at Above the Law, we sometimes feel like meteorologists, if only because we often cover the legal world’s sh*t storms. Speaking of which, this morning we saw an interesting lawsuit pattern coming through on the Doppler radar all the way from California. It looks like we could be facing some gale force bitchiness, because Gloria Allred is at the eye of the storm.

It seems that her latest client, a weatherman, has been prevented from predicting precipitation and making it rain. He believes that a record heatwave over his competitions’ Grand Tetons is the cause of his unemployment. In simpler terms, Allred’s client is suing because he is not an “attractive young female”….

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Yolanda Young probably isn't smiling today.

Litigation against law firms: it’s all the rage right now. Earlier this week, Sara Randazzo of Am Law Daily did a round-up of over a dozen lawsuits in which law firms have been named as defendants.

Such lawsuits come, and such lawsuits go. Let’s look at the “going” side of the ledger. A federal judge just dismissed the high-profile lawsuit filed by Yolanda Young — a pundit, published memoirist (affiliate link), and Georgetown-trained lawyer, as noted on her website bio — against the elite D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling….

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Back in 2009, we wrote about a Title VII suit that a former associate filed against Mayer Brown. To make a long story short (read our prior posts for the full background), Venus Yvette Springs, an African American woman, alleges that the firm discriminated against her because of her race, and eventually fired her in 2008 during the height of layoff season.

Springs filed her complaint against the Biglaw firm more than two and a half years ago, and in the time since, both parties have filed lengthy motions for summary judgment. Springs, who apparently had some time on her hands, also filed a lawsuit against Ally Financial, claiming that she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for her suit against Mayer Brown.

On Friday, a federal judge ruled on the motions, and we’ve finally got an update. Will this discrimination suit be allowed to proceed?

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It's a trap!

Here at Above the Law, it seems like we’ve got a running repository on all of the strange things that employees can do to be fired from their jobs. And whether it’s legal or illegal for an employer to do so, we love to report on these firings, because some of them are pretty hysterical.

For example, we mentioned in Morning Docket that a man claimed he was fired for his love of strippers and prostitutes. Hell, a law firm supposedly fired a receptionist for reporting to jury duty. As all of our readers know, one of Kasowitz Benson’s finest was allegedly fired for his “superior legal mind.”

And now, we have a story of a woman who was allegedly fired for wearing a fake penis to work….

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Natalee Holloway

* What’s funnier here? The fact that Stephen Colbert is running for “president of the United States of South Carolina,” or the fact that he’s already beating Jon Huntsman in the polls? [Washington Post]

* Notorious New Jersey defense attorney Paul Bergrin’s second racketeering trial has been postponed and may be delayed indefinitely, but he’s such a pimp that he doesn’t even care. [The Record]

* According to a new study, 80 percent of law students surveyed said they would attend law school again if they could start over. Hey, any way to escape a dead-end job market. [National Law Journal]

* Unfortunately, not everyone impaneled for jury duty gets to have the Pauly Shore experience. Some people just get fired — even law firm receptionists. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The day after Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to another girl’s murder, a judge declared Natalee Holloway was legally dead. Sometimes coincidence has great timing. [New York Daily News]

* Can you put a “White Only” sign outside of your apartment complex’s public pool? Nope, still illegal. That’s an antique that you might want to consider leaving up in the attic. [ABC News]

* Got fired because you love prostitutes and strippers? Don’t sue over your “hurt feelings,” because apparently all of the bros in the oil and gas industry love them, too. [The Snitch / SF Weekly]

I know why the caged bird tweets.

* Here’s a nice round-up of some of the most controversial laws that will be enacted in 2012. Looks like California is going to have some fabulously multicultural litigation. [Associated Press]

* What do you get when you cross an artist with a penchant for Rastafarians with the son of a Boies Schiller name partner? The biggest copyright fair use appeal ever. [New York Times]

* A Massachusetts town paid Phoebe Prince’s family only $225K to settle. With lawyer’s fees, it’s almost not even worth suing if your kid gets bullied to death. [ABC News]

* Everyone is going cuckoo over Iowa’s conservatives, even the Eighth Circuit. Iowa Law’s former dean is facing a political discrimination suit. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Apparently, this PhoneDog Twitter account case is a pretty big deal in the world of social media law. I’ll turn discussion of this issue over to our social media expert, Brian Tannebaum. [CNN]

* An employee at a presumably small law firm in New York had her jaw shattered while a thief ransacked the office. Give this woman a bonus. Hell, give her a raise, too. [New York Post]

* The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Obamacare over three days in March. Let’s fast forward to June so we can see how Election 2012 is going to turn out. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The Grinch definitely stole AT&T’s Christmas this year, and even a team of Biglaw superstars couldn’t save the day. The company’s merger deal with T-Mobile is now officially dead. [Am Law Daily]

* A bed and breakfast owner told this lesbian couple aloha before they could even say aloha, and now they’re suing. And here I thought that Hawaii specialized in tiny, gay bubbles. [Washington Post]

* James Franco doesn’t just get bad grades on Rotten Tomatoes. José Angel Santana, one of his former professors, has filed a lawsuit saying NYU fired him for giving the actor a “D.” [Reuters]

* Snooki, Jersey Shore’s drunken munchkin, is being sued for $7M over a licensing deal gone bad. The worst part is that even if she paid up, she’d still have oodles of money in the bank. [Daily Mail]

* Sick of law school? Get all of your bitching down on paper, and turn your rage-filled manifesto into a short story for submission to the JLE Legal Fiction Contest. [National Law Journal]

Close, Lindsay, but no cigar.

* Rajabba is appealing his insider trading convictions and prison sentence, but someone needs to suffer for this outrage. Where are Solo and the Wookiee when you need them? [Bloomberg]

* PETA is suing SeaWorld on Thirteenth Amendment grounds for enslaving killer whales. Oh, so the only marine animals you’ll help have to be black and white? Racists. [Washington Post]

* It’s not just black Biglaw associates who get called “token,” but now it’s law professors, too. Kellen McClendon is suing Duquesne Law for race discrimination. [Courthouse News]

* Lindsay Lohan is getting a full spread in Playboy’s January issue, but won’t be doing any spreading of her own. Contract negotiation just ain’t what it used to be. [Los Angeles Times]

* When you sue for age discrimination, you probably shouldn’t discriminate against your judge, no matter what his age. At least this violinist can play his own sad song. [New York Daily News]

Robert Bork

Some lawyers can be so circumspect in speech and so careful in action that they’re just plain boring. Such caution might help you make it to the Supreme Court someday, but it’s not a recipe for a very fun life.

Thankfully, not all brilliant lawyers are afraid of speaking their minds. Take Robert Bork, the former U.S. Solicitor General and D.C. Circuit judge whose Supreme Court nomination famously went down in flames in 1987 — due in part to his loquaciousness during his confirmation hearings.

Judge Bork, now 84, is currently a fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank. He’s not as involved in public life as he once was, but he’s not completely out of the picture. For example, he’s serving as a legal adviser to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney (a development that some on the left have criticized).

And Judge Bork continues to make controversial pronouncements, most recently in an interview with Newsweek….

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What do Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray have in common (besides the seven shared letters in their firm names)?

  • They are both leading law firms.
  • They both have major presences, their two biggest offices, in New York and Boston.

  • They both have blue and gray in their logos.
  • And they are both involved in litigation with former employees claiming employment discrimination.

Let’s take a look at the latest news — a fresh lawsuit filed against Proskauer, and updates in a lawsuit against Ropes that we’ve previously covered….

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