Sexual Harassment

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

If you’ve ever wondered why public agencies have such ridiculously stringent social media policies (for instance, DHS employees can’t even view the agency’s Facebook page while at work), it’s likely because of unfortunate instances like the following.

A Texas state trooper charged with sexually assaulting two women during a traffic stop was providing them with “customer service,” says Dale Roberts, the executive director of the Columbia Police Officers Association (CPOA) and a professor at the University of Missouri. (The CPOA is a part of the Fraternal Order of Police, one of the country’s largest police unions.)

“It’s called Customer Service!” Roberts wrote in a March 27 Facebook post about the indictment of Texas State Trooper Kelly Helleson, who was charged with two counts of sexual assault after conducting an illegal roadside strip search of two women. “We just did it so they wouldn’t have to make the trip all the way down to the station,” he added.

Beautiful…

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Fireman cooks up one hell of a meal.

A firefighter is suing the City of Phoenix because he received pasta in the shape of a penis and vagina with his name written on it.

Do I have your attention? Would you like to see that complaint? Is your first thought, “Wait, they wrote the guy’s name on the genital pasta?”

I hope the answer is yes to all three…

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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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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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I’m not even sure if the ten little Indians song is still kosher, so I’m guessing that jokes about ten big Indians are obviously wrong.

Last night, we told you that the interim dean of Saint Louis University School of Law was stepping down because of “inappropriate comments.”

Dean Tom Q. Keefe admitted to making inappropriate comments. But he didn’t exactly apologize for them. Instead he said: “The problem is I’m just too politically incorrect to be a dean.”

I guess thinking for yourself as a casualty of “political correctness” is one way to avoid actually confronting and dealing with your own inappropriate behavior. But when your law dean allegedly says that he’s “drunker than ten big Indians,” I don’t think the problem is that people are oversensitive….

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‘Get on your knees and beg for that file!’

Has anyone seen that movie Secretary? It’s about a law firm love affair — woman gets released from mental hospital, gets a job as a legal secretary, and enters into a BDSM relationship with her boss. Pretty standard, really, because you’d have to have some sadomasochistic tendencies to willingly subject yourself to a partner’s whims on a daily basis.

As some of you know (admit it, you do), when these illicit law firm relationships occur, they’re usually only discussed in secret behind closed doors. But when one of the those allegedly involved is an unwilling participant, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, and your darkest sexual proclivities will be revealed for all the world to see.

Despite the fact that many women wish they had a Christian Grey to dominate them, it’s a little less sexy when the man who’s allegedly at the center of this would-be torrid affair is just shy of his full retirement age. But hey, even old farts are allowed to dream.

Let’s find out who the players are in this failed office romance. Be sure to remember your safe word….

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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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* Is this contract for sex based on Facebook likes enforceable? [Gawker]

* Speaking of unenforceable contracts, what in the hell does Bilbo sign before his unexpectedly long journey? [Wired]

* And Jesus, you certainly can’t barter legal services for sex! I think everybody needs to go home and read the Second Restatement. [Indianapolis Star]

* Now you can hear for yourself the three words that Clarence Thomas spoke. It’s at the 41-minute mark. [The Supreme Court]

* Ms. JD is offering lawyers and law students the chance to submit questions to ABA President Laurel Bellows that will be answered at an event on January 31 (with viewing parties around the country). [Ms. JD]

* How to answer a question when an interviewer asks you something that you don’t have to answer. [Lawyers.com]

* Litigation can be a good excuse to get your client to do things they should have been doing all along. [What About Clients?]

* North Carolina dean claims she was forced to underreport sexual assaults at the college. When reached for comment, the Duke Lacrosse team said, “We kind of have the opposite problem.” [Salon]

We offer a lot of coverage of lawyers suing their law firms. They’re almost always the same: lawyer is fired; lawyer finds something to sue the employer over. Sometimes the lawyer’s claims have merit; sometimes they don’t.

It’s a little more rare for a law professor to sue his or her law school. That’s probably because it’s much harder for a law professor to be fired or pushed out. Oftentimes you only see lawsuits from professors when they feel like they’ve been unfairly denied tenure. After they get tenure, well, there’s little the law school can do to them anyway.

Well, unless the school concludes that a professor “poses a safety risk,” to the students at the law school. Then, the professor can be suspended.

And then, much like a lawyer in private practice, the law professor will sue the school….

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The ‘well dressed’ alleged groper.

Our long national nightmare is over. Law enforcement authorities claim that the so-called “Well-Dressed Groper” or “Gentleman Groper” has finally been caught.

For those outside the New York area who don’t understand how a man who is accused of sexual assault earned the aforementioned monikers, I don’t know what to tell you. I think it probably has something to do with the New York media not being particularly interested in the sexual assault that happens to working-class women all across this city, but this guy was allegedly grabbing the asses of educated women, and he doesn’t wear a hoodie, so… WELL DRESSED GROPER.

The other interesting twist is that this time the police believe they have the right man. Which means that there was a time when they caught and accused the wrong man.

The innocent man was well-dressed, but not a struggling attorney, so I always thought that bust was fishy…

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