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Labor & Employment

Dechert settles ex-associate’s ‘macho culture’ family leave case

Posted Feb 12, 2013 9:04 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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File photo of Ariel Ayanna by Ken Richardson

Dechert has settled, on undisclosed terms, a former Boston financial services associate's retaliation claim concerning the law firm's alleged "macho culture."

Originally, Ariel Ayanna also filed a Massachusetts state-law sex-discrimination claim. In it, he contended that the firm used his alleged low billings as a pretext for terminating him in 2008 when in fact he was treated differently than women who took leave to care for family members. But a federal judge last year dismissed the sex-discrimination claim while upholding Ayanna's related claim that he was retaliated against for exercising his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.

On Monday, as a trial was about to begin in federal court in Massachusetts, the judge was informed that a settlement has been reached, reports the National Law Journal (sub. req.).

News that the case had concluded was met with congratulations by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton.

"Counsel are to be commended," he said. "This could have been a lengthy trial. It would cost your clients a considerable amount of money. It's always appropriate for parties to reach a settlement. It was a job well done."

Ayanna was represented by attorney Rebecca Pontikes and Dechert's lead lawyer was Danny Cloherty. Both declined to comment when contacted by the legal publication.

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