Sexual Harassment

Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas

For most of the time that she has been in the public spotlight, coming up on two years, Madam Justice Lori Douglas — the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures showing her engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys, and administering oral sex — has maintained a steady silence. Her husband (and the man who got her into this mess in the first place), lawyer Jack King, has spoken out, publicly apologizing for his misconduct. But Justice Douglas has been quiet.

Until now. Justice Douglas has come forward to share her side of the story — and to refute the allegations made against her in a Canadian Judicial Council inquiry that will determine if she will remain on the bench.

What does Justice Douglas have to say in her defense?

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On these pages, we cover a fair number of lawsuits relating to female anatomy. Suits about women who say they were fired from their jobs for their stunning beauty (or, depending on your level of cynicism, their other intimidating feminine assets). But we less frequently write about lawsuits stemming from the male anatomy.

Today, we’re making up for lost time. This afternoon we have two stories about men who allegedly have trouble with properly managing their personal packages, thus causing varying degrees of trauma to themselves and people around them.

Are these suits sexy? NO. Are they crazy? Uh, yup. Salacious? Check. And no matter how one discusses these suits, it will sound like an awkward conversation with Tobias Fünke.

So, let’s check out our Lawsuits of the Day. And watch your step…

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Last week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the American Lawyer all mentioned an unusual debt in the bankruptcy case of Dewey & LeBoeuf. A former D&L associate, Emily Saffitz, was listed as being owed $416,667 — a sum big enough to put her in the top 20 unsecured creditors of the firm. This was apparently due to a “severance arrangement.”

Why did Dewey agree to pay an associate from the class of 2006 more than $400K in severance? According to the Times, Saffitz received this severance agreement after she “complained over how she was treated by a former Dewey partner and told the firm’s management.” According to the Journal, she filed “a complaint regarding sexual discrimination by a Dewey partner who is no longer with the firm.”

Inquiring minds want to know: Who was the partner in question? And what did he allegedly say or do to Emily Saffitz?

Finding out such details is difficult. Settlements in cases of alleged sex discrimination or sexual harassment often contain non-disclosure or non-disparagement provisions that prevent the parties from speaking about what took place.

So we didn’t expect we would ever find out which former Dewey partner triggered complaints from Emily Saffitz. Until, well, he emailed us….

Multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

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Not cool, bro.

Californians tend to be quite protective of the state’s reputation as a progressive paradise. Where equality is important for everyone, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. Where organic food is simply better, no matter how much it costs. Where the earthquakes are a fine price to pay for an entire year of temperate weather.

So, when the New York Times ran an extensive article this weekend about an accomplished female attorney who sued the major venture capital firm where she is a partner for sex discrimination, it puts a real fly in the state’s — and specifically the tech industry’s — collective ointment.

The Times’s extensive story concerns Ellen Pao, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former associate at Cravath. She has sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major VC firm.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the suit, as well as what it might mean for attorneys who work within the emerging “brogrammer” culture in Silicon Valley…

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As we reported late on Monday night, Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed for bankruptcy — the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history, in fact. You can access a copy of Dewey’s voluntary petition to enter Chapter 11 over here (via Scribd).

Yesterday afternoon, Dewey’s lawyers appeared in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The firm’s lead lawyer, Albert Togut, introduced himself as follows: “I can finally confirm the worst-kept secret of the year. I am counsel for Dewey & LeBoeuf.” He’s going to be a very busy man over the weeks and months ahead.

Let’s find out what happened at the hearing, and also take a closer look at one of Dewey’s most intriguing unsecured creditors: a (rather attractive) litigatrix, a former Dewey associate now at another firm, who is owed more than $400,000 in “severance” by D&L….

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(And a report on Dewey’s day in bankruptcy court.)”

You may remember that back in the summer of 2010, an attractive and curvaceous woman named Debrahlee Lorenzana sued Citibank for wrongful termination. Apparently Lorenzana was “too hot” — so hot, in fact, that she allegedly distracted other bankers from doing their jobs, resulting in her firing.

Just two years later, another woman claims that she was fired for similar reasons — her employers at a lingerie business allegedly told her she was “too hot” and that her breasts were “too large.” Now, we know what you must be thinking: how can one be “too hot,” or have breasts “too large” to work for a lingerie company?

Everything’s possible in New York, but we know that TTIWWOP — “This Thread Is Worthless Without Pictures.” We’ve got a few, plus a video….

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In the movie “Wedding Crashers,” Vince Vaughn’s character introduced the term “motorboating” to a global audience, through a tirade about being forced to grope an older woman’s breasts. In case you’re not familiar with the term (and we don’t know why you wouldn’t be), you can find its definition at the Urban Dictionary.

Now, you may be asking, what’s wrong with a good old-fashioned motorboating? You’d assume that the breastacular event would be enjoyable for both parties.

But apparently the fun stops when a man allegedly endures a rodeo of unwanted sexual advances from his female boss that crescendos in two occasions of forced motorboating. So before you can say, “You motorboatin’ son of a b*tch!,” let’s see what’s going on deep in the heart of Texas.

It’s a sexual harassment lawsuit for the ages….

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Reema Bajaj: lawyer accused of prostitution

Let’s take a break from the sad and serious story of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s downfall and turn (or return) our attention to another kind of going down. In more salacious, racy fare, we bring you updates about female legal eagles who have flown high in these pages before — and now might find themselves crashing earthward.

The first is Reema N. Bajaj, a beautiful young Illinois lawyer who has been accused — perhaps unfairly — of prostitution charges. The second is Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas, a Canadian judge whose nude photos made their way to the internets.

So what’s the latest news about Bajaj and Douglas? Here’s a hint: What does each share in common with Bill Clinton?

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Here at Above The Law, we have no problem with drinking. Sometimes, drinking and work can even go together well. But not always.

Say, for example, you work on staff at a Biglaw firm that hosts a monthly office happy hour. The festivities allegedly culminate in people getting so drunk that they try to strangle you on your way to the bathroom.

That would be bad news. Because Mad Men may be a cool show, but these days, it’s not a world in which many people would want to live.

Would such events ever transpire at a leading law firm in Washington, D.C.? According to a new lawsuit, at least one angry former employee would say so…

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I think it’d be funny if each country could apply for a special cultural diplomatic immunity. Like, one law your diplomats could break anywhere because the practice is culturally accepted in your country. Sure, by funny I mean “horribly racist,” but it really would be entertaining to see what each country picked. America would probably pick the “name your price” ability: our diplomats would be able to buy anybody off, anywhere, without being charged with “bribery.” China would get the “putting lead in stuff” immunity.

I can’t imagine what the French would ask for.

Thought experiments aside, the diplomatic immunity that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn wanted was laughed out of a New York court today. Like I said, it’s funny to see what people ask for…

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