Over the last few months, Above The Law has been providing regular updates in a fascinating lawsuit, wherein a former associate at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, sued the firm, alleging a hostile work environment and illegal gender-based discrimination, allegedly caused by one of the partners. There are very serious allegations at play here, but some of the details do read more like a soap opera. Read this page for some of the most salacious parts of the initial complaint, and then catch up with the subsequent counterclaims and updates. (Teaser: there’s an alleged stabbing involved).
[T]he foundational and stabbing allegation in Defendants’ $15 million counterclaims against Ms. Marchuk — that Ms. Marchuk used Gmail account firstname.lastname@example.org (the “Gmail Account”) to maliciously distribute her Complaint to the media, [defendant law firm] F&F’s clients, opposing counsel in F&F’s case, and even to [F&F partner Juan] Monteverde’s wife — is a blatant lie. On June 14, 2013, Google responded to Defendants’ subpoena with the bombshell disclosure that the Gmail Account was created on March 13, 2013, the day this case was initiated, from the IP address of F&F’s Manhattan office. Therefore, either in an attempt to frame Ms. Marchuk for the allegations that Defendants then put in their counterclaims against her, or in a case of dysfunctional, intra-firm back-stabbing, someone at F&F created the Gmail Account on the day the Complaint was filed and emailed it to Mr. Monteverde’s wife and, supposedly, others.
So just to clarify – in its counterclaim, the law firm accused the plaintiff, Marchuk, of unfairly publicizing the complaint in the media, but now, the amended complaint rebuts that accusation. Marchuk is arguing that the email account used to contact various people was, in fact, set up at the firm’s own offices. She’s arguing that she was set up. This is top-notch drama! It goes on:
Seeking to discredit Ms. Marchuk’s claim that Mr. Monteverde held sway over her compensation, Defendants amateurishly manufactured a letter purporting to inform Ms. Marchuk that she was ineligible for a bonus until 2012. When asked to produce the .doc file containing the metadata that would show when this letter was created, Defendants implausibly claimed that all such information had been destroyed by a “hard drive failure.”
We write about spoliation enough here at IT-Lex to be immediately wary of the “hard drive failure” excuse. There are other, non-tech spoliation concerns too, involving alleged bloodstains on a carpet. Additionally, there are Gchat messages being used by both parties as evidence. Truly, this case is rich with interesting details. F&F quickly filed its answer to the amended complaint and it’s well worth reading that, too, to get their side of events. Let’s see what comes next.