Law Practice Management

Law Office Worker Can Sue 'Diva' Lawyer Who Lunged and Raised His Fist, Columnist Says

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A law office worker who felt threatened by a lawyer who lunged, cursed and raised his fist can file a lawsuit, according to a newspaper columnist who owns a management consulting firm.

The worker worked for three male “diva” lawyers, according to the letter to the advice columnist published by the Anchorage Daily News. “Each expects the staff to bump the other two lawyers’ work for their projects and throws a snit fit when he needs something done and those of us ‘here to serve’ can’t make ourselves immediately available,” the worker writes.

According to the worker, one of the lawyers, “John,” became enraged after the worker said “no can do” to his new rush project that needed to be completed by noon. The worker was already swamped with two other rush projects.

“Before I could explain, John lunged toward me cursing loudly,” the worker writes. “He had his fists raised and was almost on top of me with one fist an inch from my nose. I panicked, jumped out of my chair and headed for the door. John got between me and the door and pointed at the desk, yelling, ‘Sit down and do it!’ ” John retreated when the office manager walked by with two clients.

The columnist, Lynne Curry of The Growth Company Inc., says a suit is possible and cites an Indiana Supreme Court decision upholding an award to a hospital worker who felt threatened by a surgeon who came toward him with clenched fists. The court said workplace bullying could be part of a claim for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to Curry.

The law firm worker could also file an ethics complaint, Curry advised.

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