Law Firms

After firm sues its own lawyer for alleged 'quiet quit,' she files bias suit; stuffed bear noose cited

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Palmore lawsuit bear screenshot

In her lawsuit, Heather M. Palmore says she saw a stuffed bear hanging from a noose on a light fixture in direct view of her office. Image from the Feb. 27 suit.

A lawyer sued by her law firm for an alleged “quiet quit” while working from home filed a lawsuit Monday that claims bias and retaliation by her former employer.

The lawyer, Heather M. Palmore, sued Napoli Shkolnik and name partners Paul Napoli, Marie Napoli and Hunter Shkolnik in federal court in Manhattan, New York City. The suit alleges that the defendants “are nothing more than boorish bullies who will stop at nothing and break the law to intimidate people who try to stand up to them.”

Palmore, who is Black, was fired by email Feb. 26, one day before she filed her suit.

Palmore’s suit says the defendants were aware that her suit was about to be filed, so they “cobbled together lies” and sued her first. She says a series of events led her to think that she was hired to create an appearance of diversity, and the firm used her as a “token” African American when the firm thought that it was in its interest.

Napoli Shkolnik’s suit, filed Feb. 23 in New York state court, had alleged that Palmore took advantage of the remote work environment by performing little to no work—known as “quiet quitting”—and by competing with the firm by running her own firm, the Palmore Law Group.

Publications covering the firm’s suit include Law360, Business Insider via Yahoo News and

Napoli Shkolnik’s suit cites computer records showing that Palmore was “active on her computer for mere minutes a day on the overwhelming majority of workdays in 2023.” Yet she “submitted blatantly false daily time records,” the suit says.

The firm’s suit also claimed that Palmore “misrepresented her skill set, experience and book of business to obtain a position with Napoli Shkolnik.” Palmore “did not bring in the hundreds of cases she promised” and did not do sufficient work to justify an annual draw advance that she received, according to the suit.

Napoli Shkolnik alleged that Palmore hired a lawyer and alleged racial discrimination and a hostile work environment in an attempt to extort money from the firm and to avoid paying back excess draw.

The firm alleged breach of contract, breach of duty of loyalty and fiduciary duty, defamation, unjust enrichment and a constructive trust entitling Napoli Shkolnik to funds recovered for clients who brought cases to the Palmore Law Group during Palmore’s work for Napoli Shkolnik.

Palmore’s suit, on the other hand, says she “has been subjected to and witnessed egregious race and disability discrimination by senior management as part of their standard operating procedures.”

Palmore, the chief trial counsel at Napoli Shkolnik, says she “lost” access to the firm’s network in October 2022, just one day after the firm received a representation letter from Palmore’s lawyers.

“It is devoid of logic to assert that Ms. Palmore could take advantage of a remote work system that she did not have access to,” her suit says.

“To make matters worse,” Palmore’s suit says, “the firm filed its frivolous lawsuit against Ms. Palmore to prey on her weakened state as the firm was fully aware Ms. Palmore suffered serious health conditions and requested medical leave only days prior to the filing of its senseless lawsuit.”

Palmore’s suit says she was hired to bring cases into the firm, but when she did that, there was no intake or follow-up. The firm had promised marketing efforts to help her, but when she pitched ideas and asked the firm to help, she was “repeatedly rebuffed,” Palmore’s suit says. Although she was not supposed to have a caseload, she was assigned the cases of a departing lawyer, according to the suit.

Palmore’s suit cites several instances of alleged discrimination, including:

    • Palmore saw a stuffed bear hanging from a noose on a light fixture in direct view of her office.

    • Napoli Shkolnik reassigned a case from a female attorney to a male attorney after a client complained and said a man would be more aggressive. When Palmore brought that problem and others to the firm’s attention, Paul Napoli “began to scream” at her and was “demonstrably angry” that she had raised concerns, the suit alleges.

    • Napoli introduced Palmore to his colleagues and friends as the “Black female Ben Crump,” a reference to Benjamin L. Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney.

    • Firm employees said in a questionnaire that they were mocked for their accents and pronunciations.

    • During a mass torts conference, Palmore was told that she could not sit at a table with Napoli, his wife and another partner.

    • Palmore spent several days being filmed for a firm commercial. But the final ad featured two paid white actors instead.

    • Palmore was not included on a firm organizational chart. Other who were misidentified or unlisted were minorities.

Palmore is represented by the Wigdor firm.

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