Sex Scandals

Is D.C. the capital of… crazy lawsuits?

People love to complain that D.C. is a dysfunctional city. That may be a bit harsh. Despite the partisan gridlock, sometimes deals can be reached in Congress — for example, the new gun control compromise measure in the Senate.

And the city itself is a much more appealing city to live in these days. The recent, taxpayer-financed boom in D.C. has led to improved restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and residential options. (I used to live in D.C., from 2006 to 2008, and I continue to visit frequently.)

But the lawsuits coming out of the nation’s capital — well, they’re still pretty crazy. Time for some quick updates on the insanity….

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Star-crossed lawyers: Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk.

If you want to sue a defense-side Biglaw firm for employment-related claims, go for it. Unless your lawsuit is bats**t insane, chances are the firm will settle with you. See, e.g., Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell; Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy. Heck, you don’t even need to file an actual case; even threatened litigation can yield a six-figure payday.

Biglaw firms are busy — busy making money, of course — and very reputation-conscious. They don’t want to be distracted by litigation, and they don’t want their white shoes sullied by grime. They will pay good money to make headaches go away.

But suing a scrappy plaintiff-side firm is an entirely different story. They will hit back — and hard.

Last month, Alexandra Marchuk sued her former firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, making a host of salacious allegations. The most incendiary: that a partner of the firm, Juan Monteverde, forcibly had sex with her in his office after the firm holiday party.

Now the Faruqis and Monteverde are turning it around on Alexandra Marchuk. They’re suing her back, filing counterclaims and seeking an eight-figure sum….

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Judge Wade McCree

You must remember Judge Wade McCree. Not only is he the son of the first African-American to be appointed to the Sixth Circuit, but he’s also the man who sent sext messages to his bailiff and had an affair with one of the litigants who appeared before him while he was on the bench. Note that we’re no longer using the word “allegedly” in that sentence.

We now know for sure that McCree — who’s been referred to as Judge McCreep since the media caught wind of his sexual derring-do — was getting down and dirty with the woman who he claimed had been stalking and extorting him, the same woman who shouted from the rooftops that she’d banged McCree’s gavel “[o]n his desk, in the chair, the couch, you name it.”

We know with relative certainty that McCree did all of these things because he just admitted it all in his response to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission’s (MJTC) formal complaint.

Let’s see if he’s got any “shame in [his] game” now….

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My personal favorite: Peepemptory Challenges.

* To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter! Welcome the holiday by voting in the ABA Journal’s fifth annual “Peeps in Law” contest. [ABA Journal]

* If law firm brackets aren’t your thing, check out Professor Kyle Graham’s brackets for (1) law school classes and (2) law blogs. I’m thankful for ATL’s #1 seed but terrified by who we’re up against (because they’ve ripped me a new one before). [noncuratlex]

* Sorry, Judge Steiner, you wuz robbed; you should have been our Judge of the Day. It’s tough to top “allegations of a sexual quid pro quo with a female lawyer and the eye-opening confiscation of carpet from [chambers] for forensic analysis.” [OC Weekly]

William Shatner

* “William Shatner’s Seductive Powers Don’t Create a Fiduciary Duty.” Robyn Hagan Cain explains why. [U.S. Second Circuit / FindLaw]

* Citi settles securities cases for $730 million. Matt Levine is not impressed. [Dealbreaker]

* And Ted Frank is incensed by Bernstein Litowitz’s nine-figure fee request. [Point of Law]

* If you’re already depressed by public ignorance about the Supreme Court, don’t look at the responses to question 9 of this opinion poll. [Penn Schoen Berland]

* Steven Harper — author of a new (and very good) book about the legal profession, The Lawyer Bubble (affiliate link) — offers thoughts on the billable hour in the wake of the DLA Piper overbilling allegations. [New York Times]

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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The job market sure is rough right now, but the blow job market is an entirely different playing field. If you really want to be counted as one of those employed nine months after graduation, you’ve got to to put up or shut up — or in this case, put out or get out.

It seems that Scott Steiner, a California judge and adjunct law professor at Chapman University School of Law, allegedly decided to trade sex for job placement opportunities. The woman whom he allegedly entered into an affair with eventually landed a position with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the place where he used to work. Steiner used to work in the DA’s Gang Unit, but given the allegations here, the good judge may as well have worked in the Gang Bang Unit.

Oh, and we should probably mention that this woman may have been a law student….

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When Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement, conspiracy theorists opined that the mounting allegations of a Church-sponsored cover-up of sexual abuse had reached the highest levels of the Vatican. That charge didn’t make much sense to me. As Pope, Benedict XVI possessed the legal immunities. Outside the office, his status is in doubt.

So if he felt some fear of prosecution, he should have opted to stay in the office for life.

It’s pretty simple logic. That said, “logic” is the sort of thing that, historically, gets you burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, so maybe I shouldn’t try to apply that to the Pope’s decision.

But the question remains: Does the “Pope Emeritus” retain legal immunities in retirement? And if not, what litigation is he inviting with his retirement?

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Stroking the gavel of justice?

Don’t come knocking if the jury room is rockin’.

– An instant message that was allegedly sent by Judge Eugenio Mathis to his wife, a court employee, prior to his resignation from the bench.

(The New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission notes that the good judge allegedly engaged in “communications of a sexual nature” with his wife during court proceedings, “including intimations that he had or would be having sexual relations with her during the workday and/or on court premises.” Mathis continues to deny those claims.)

Another day, another paternity suit for a basketball legend, and this time, it’s some regular old baby mama drama (not this delusional “LeBromination” business). Apparently Michael Jordan is the latest NBA star to fall prey to a scandalous request for a paternity test. Of course, this is nothing new for His Airness — he’s had to deal with several such allegations from women claiming they dribbled his balls.

But in this iteration of what would likely be the most-watched Maury Povich episode of all time, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ve got a teenager with a video message plea for more Twitter followers, and also for his alleged father to take a more active role in his life….

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I spy with my little eye… FBI sext messages?!?

When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.

Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, commenting on a “rash of sexting cases” detailed in an FBI disciplinary report.

(After taking a look at this report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation ought to consider changing its name to Frat Bros International. Let’s check it out.)

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