Law Firms

Steamy novel writer will have to get psych exam in wrongful firing suit against BigLaw firm

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The self-published author of an erotic novel will have to submit to a psychiatric examination in her suit claiming Allen & Overy used the book as a pretext to fire her.

Plaintiff Deidre Clark, who had worked as a senior lawyer in the firm’s Moscow office, must have the exam because her $15 million emotional distress claim made her mental state a matter of controversy, according to New York’s Appellate Division, First Department. The Am Law Litigation Daily has a report on the Feb. 17 decision.

In addition to intentional infliction of emotional distress, Clark’s suit alleged sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge.

Clark, who used the pen name Deidre Dare to write her novel Expat, claims she was fired after a sexual encounter with a former Moscow partner. In a deposition, she said she has depression, severe anxiety and suicidal feelings, causing eczema all over her body and hair pulling. She denies having any diagnosed psychiatric condition, however, and did not anticipate expert testimony supporting her emotional distress claim.

A trial judge said Clark’s allegation of unusually severe emotional distress had warranted a psychiatric examination that could enable the law firm to rebut the claim. The lower court “providently exercised its discretion,” the appeals court said.

Related article: “Pro-Se Ex-Associate Gets Green Light to Proceed with NY Suit Against UK Law Firm re Moscow Partner”

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