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Associate Claims in Suit He Was Forced Out of Canadian Firm for Complaint About Groping Partner

Posted Apr 6, 2011 9:16 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former associate claims in a $1.3 million wrongful dismissal suit that he was forced out of a Canadian law firm after he alleged a drunken partner groped a law student during a late-night party at a Toronto bar.

Adrian Jakibchuk alleges that partners at Mathews Dinsdale & Clark refused to assign him new work and stopped socializing with him after the partner he accused of misconduct sued for defamation, according to the Law Times and the Toronto Star. Mathews Dinsdale is an employment law boutique.

The partner, David Cowling, left the law firm last week and dropped the defamation suit this month. Cowling told the Law Times he was exonerated and produced a letter from the firm’s managing partner saying his conduct was appropriate.

Jakibchuk claims Mathews Dinsdale should have indemnified him for the defamation suit because it resulted from his employment at the firm, the Law Times says.

The litigation stems from a party held at a bar in January 2009 to celebrate the firm’s annual moot court competition, the Toronto Star explains. The next day, associate Sarah Diebel called the party a “night of debauchery” where “free booze flowed” and partners drank too much. She singled out Cowling, alleging he had rubbed up against her and other women. Diebel left the firm in 2009.

Jakibchuk was asked for a statement as part of the firm’s investigation. He alleged Cowling had danced with a law student, groped her and smirked.

Mathews Dinsdale plans a vigorous defense. “The firm believes totally and unequivocally that the claim is without merit,” its lawyer, Terrence O’Sullivan, told Law Times.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Accused of Partying Too Hearty at Law Firm Event, Partner Sues 2 Associates Who Complained for $2.3M”

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