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Firm Sued for Harrassment by Associate Claims She Never Worked There

These days, a lawsuit by a former associate for discrimination or wrongful discharge against law firm no longer carries the same stigma it once did. Such stories seem to be increasingly common, like the suit by a black staff attorney against her former firm that I blogged about last week. And today comes this news about Taryn Williams, who is suing Duane Morris. Williams alleges that she was sexually harassed by Kelly Holmes, another female attorney there, and fired after complaining about it. Williams' complaint states that she was an associate in the firm's Houston office.

What makes this case interesting, however (at least based on the National Law Journal story), is the firm's defense. The firm isn't denying the alleged harassment -- it denies Williams was ever a Duane Morris associate in the first place. According to the article:

A spokesman for Duane Morris, who said the firm had not read the complaint, said that Williams had never worked at the law firm as an associate. He said that she had never received a paycheck from the law firm.

Holmes and Williams apparently worked on document review matters for Duane Morris, which suggests that at some point they were contract attorneys -- and that may be what explains the discrepancy.  On the other hand, if that were the case, it is unclear why Williams would have claimed she was an associate in the complaint.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 6, 2009 at 04:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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