Trials & Litigation
Sued by ex-associate, partner and law firm file $15M counterclaim, call her ‘obsessed’
By Martha Neil
Apr 2, 2013, 02:55 pm CST
Sued last month for alleged sexual harassment by a former associate, a prominent plaintiffs class action lawyer and his firm have fired back.
In addition to answering the complaint brought by Alexandra Marchuk in federal court in Manhattan, Juan E. Monteverde and Faruqi & Faruqi have filed counterclaims alleging defamation, tortious interference with prospective business advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress and misappropriation of confidential information.
Marchuk's suit "was maliciously brought ... to extort money from her former employer," their pleading contends, calling her "obsessed" with Monteverde, a non-equity partner.
As the Times article notes, the firm's counterclaims allege that Marchuk used the firm's list to send copies of her complaint to its clients. She also is accused of sending a copy of the complaint to the wife of Monteverde. As Marchuk's complaint graphically details, she says she had unwanted sexual encounters with Monteverde.
In their responding pleading, he and the law firm also graphically detail what they claim were exaggerations and outright lies by Marchuk concerning the alleged unwanted contact with Monteverde and portray her as inappropriately focused on him.
“We are aware that the simple and easy course of least resistance is to quell the controversy and suggest that Mr. Monteverde find employment elsewhere,” said firm co-founders Lubna M. Faruqi and Nadeem Faruqi in a written statement provided to the newspaper. “Although he exercised very poor judgment and has been disciplined by F&F, we are convinced that he did not commit sexual harassment, that our firm is not a hostile workplace, and that he does not deserve to have his promising future forever tarnished by letting these allegations go unanswered.”
The firm and Monteverde seek $15 million in damages and attorney fees in their counterclaims, contending that they have lost a significant amount of business due to Marchuk's actions.
ABAJournal.com: "Ex-associate files sexual harassment suit against Faruqi & Faruqi firm and prominent partner"