Federal judge rejects BigLaw firm’s sanctions request in gender bias suit
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Corrected: A federal judge in San Francisco has denied Morrison & Foerster’s request for sanctions in a suit claiming “mommy track” gender bias by the law firm.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of San Francisco rejected the motion during arguments Thursday, the Recorder reports.
Morrison & Foerster had claimed that the law firm for the plaintiffs, Sanford Heisler Sharp, wrongly added a plaintiff to the suit who had signed a release of claims after being fired for performance issues. Its sanctions motion said the associate negotiated a better severance package than the one initially offered and had consulted a lawyer about her termination.
The plaintiff had alleged that she signed while under economic duress because of economic uncertainty at a time when she was pregnant.
Corley said that allegation was sufficient to support her claim, according to the Recorder’s coverage.
Corley warned Sanford Heisler against bringing a retaliatory sanctions motion against Morrison & Foerster. “We’re just going to stop and move forward,” she said.
Corley also warned that the plaintiffs who are listed as Jane Does in the complaint will have to be identified if the case moves forward.
Third paragraph corrected on April 20 to read that the associate consulted a lawyer about her termination and negotiated a better deal on her own.