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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blow Jobs, Breast Fondling, and Forcible Office Sex Are Among Topics In Suit Against Boutique Law Firm


Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk
Perhaps the nation's juiciest legal story at the moment is unfolding at the boutique New York law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi.

That's where a former associate named Alexandra Marchuk has filed a sexual-harassment suit against the firm and partner Juan Monteverde. Among many salacious details in the complaint is Marchuk's claim that Monteverde forcibly had sex with her after an office holiday party.

A Southern angle is present in this story--Marchuk is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School--and the case has drawn widespread coverage in the legal press, with reports from The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, and ABA Journal.

Perhaps most interesting is the role of the Web press. A plucky Web site called Above the Law (ATL) broke the story with its "Lawsuit of the Day" report on March 13. The site has stayed on top of the story ever since, including a report about a Faruqi & Faruqi counterclaim--plus a report yesterday about Marchuk's amended complaint, in which she increases her demand for damages from $7 million to $13 million. Marchuk now performs legal work on the foreclosure docket for an insurance firm in Omaha, Nebraska.

David Lat, a Yale Law School graduate, launched Above the Law after finding an audience with his first legal blog, Underneath Their Robes, which focused on coverage of federal judges that you aren't likely to find in a daily newspaper. ATL has a gossipy, snarky, insider tone that readers apparently find irresistible. According to one report, ATL racks up about 900,000 unique visitors a month, a figure that probably makes it the most widely read legal blog on the Web.

For Lat and his ATL colleagues, the Alexandra Marchuk lawsuit is the juicy story that keeps on giving. Consider this from Lat's initial report, including language directly from item No. 12 in Marchuk's complaint:

In 2010, Marchuk worked as a summer associate at Faruqi & Faruqi (“F&F”). When they worked together, “Mr. Monteverde was very friendly and flirtatious with Ms. Marchuk and from time to time made inappropriate, sexually charged comments in Ms. Marchuk’s presence.” How inappropriate?

12. Mr. Monteverde drank heavily at [a post-happy-hour] dinner and, seeing that Ms. Marchuk had drunk only a half glass of wine, urged her to drink more, which she did not do. Mr. Monteverde further commented that Ms. Marchuk was an “expensive date” and that she was “lucky” that he was married because he otherwise would expect a “blow job” for the expensive meal that he had purchased for her.

David Lat
Things get even racier when Lat turns his attention to item No. 18:

According to Marchuk’s allegations, Juan Monteverde started sexually harassing her pretty much after she walked through the door at the Faruqi firm. When she joined the firm on September 6, 2011, “she was surprised to learn from Mr. Monteverde that he had arranged for her to work exclusively for him.” He asked her to attend a hearing in Delaware on September 8. After the hearing, they went out for drinks:

18. After several more drinks at Lex Bar, Mr. Monteverde aggressively grabbed and kissed Ms. Marchuk and attempted to fondle her breasts. Ms. Marchuk physically rebuffed Mr. Monteverde’s advances. Mr. Monteverde then asked Ms. Marchuk to go back to F&F’s offices with him to have sex. Ms. Marchuk rejected the offer and went home. She had no romantic interest in Mr. Monteverde and was greatly troubled that her sole supervising attorney was making wildly inappropriate sexual advances to her on only her third day of full time employment at F&F.

The most disturbing allegations involve the F&F holiday party on December 15, 2011. At that event, Marchuk claims, Monteverde said he probably could not recommend her for a year-end bonus--a disturbing prospect for a new law-school grad with sizable student loans to pay off. Lat reports what allegedly happened next, borrowing from items 64 and 65 in the complaint:

Marchuk then claims that, in her vulnerable state, Monteverde took advantage of her in a most terrible way:

64. By this time, most or all of the other F&F attorneys had left the bar and Mr. Monteverde started suggesting that Ms. Marchuk accompany him to F&F’s office, which was only a short walk away. Under the influence of alcohol, and desperate to repair what Mr. Monteverde said was her tattered standing at F&F, Ms. Marchuk acceded to Mr. Monteverde’s pleas and walked back to F&F’s offices with him.

65. After entering his office, Mr. Monteverde pushed Ms. Marchuk to the floor and quickly, forcefully, and painfully had sex with her. Suffering discomfort and not wanting to continue having sex with him, Ms. Marchuk implored Mr. Monteverde to stop, but he disregarded her pleas and continued having sex with her. After he finished, Ms. Marchuk had left a large bloodstain on Mr. Monteverde’s carpet. Seeing that Ms. Marchuk was emotionally and physically traumatized by his aggressive conduct, Mr. Monteverde immediately directed her not to tell anyone what he had done. He then quickly escorted Ms. Marchuk from F&F’s office and down to the street, obviously concerned that they might be discovered by other F&F employees. Mr. Monteverde advised Ms. Marchuk to forget what had just happened. Ms. Marchuk walked to the nearest train station and took the subway home alone.

The complaint does not use the term "rape," but that appears to be what Marchuk is describing.

Where is this story headed? That's hard to say, but Lat makes it clear in his piece yesterday that he hopes it's headed for open court:

Who’s telling the truth here? Only time — and discovery — will tell. Based on developments to date, we’re hopeful that the parties, instead of quietly settling the matter, will both wind up on the carpet.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

LS, I love it when you get down in the gutter. This is one of your best pieces yet.

Comic Book Guy said...

Best . . . headline . . . ever . . .

Anonymous said...

Got to start reading Above the Law. Sounds like David Lat has a nose for the kind of news we really want to read.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, this woman went from a "boutique" Manhattan law firm to an insurance company in Omaha, Nebraska. No wonder she's seeking major damages!

Gerry with a G said...

Sounds like this partner has a sense of entitlement and a major drinking problem. Those qualities probably are common in this breed of animal.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer, you must be trying to bump up your stats. Is this ratings month or something?

Anonymous said...

You can't go wrong with a headline that includes the words "blow jobs," "breast fondling," and "forcible office sex."

Even Billy Graham would read that.

Anonymous said...

plaintiff law firm gets too big for its britches and a psycho bitch from hell comes in as honey pot to take the uppity non corporate down

lawyers are lawyers and in modern time to pick being plaintiff protectors says alot

not like the corporate america does not already have the thug machine to take down any opposition of the IT a power creeping fascism far worse than in Italy when it first began

*PROGRESS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS

in reading the book by *Walker F Todd the understanding of how our system truly was constructed, and works now -- as NOT what was 'progressing' or should be, explains this BS of plaintiff law firm dirty filthy human scum loses against corporate perfection in the realm of Riley, Rollins, Fuller, and so many to name of corporate white lily in the light of Christ's spirit, but of course ..

ENJOY THE BOOK, it's a BIBLE after a fashion

Anonymous said...

I read where the partner's nickname is "Don Juan" Monteverde. Sounds like he's trying hard to live up to that nickname.

Anonymous said...

blow what job

and fondle whose breasts

while having office sex

forcing suits to be topics

above the law Boutique Firm

american wet dreams cum true

fame money power blame games

super highways slicked ready

no brains train wrecked

weeee energy ever spins

outa control weeee

porn pom

loveIt LS

legalschnauzer said...

Great stuff, PP. Thanks for sharing.

jeffrey spruill said...

LS:

Aren't there lawyers who specialize in making a deal instead of going to trial?

Look for a deal in this one.

Anonymous said...

How did you write a story involving "blow jobs" that was not about Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison . . . .or Troy King and J.W.?

legalschnauzer said...

Troy King and J.W.? Inquiring minds are dying to know what J.W. stands for.

e.a.f. said...



who says we don't need unions to protect workers? this is just another example of how employers exploit workers. Here's hoping she cleans his clock in court.

Anonymous said...

Wassn't J.W. the guy Troy took everywhere who allegedly was caught in the act with Troy at the Montgomery YMCA? I am NOT making that up . . . .

legalschnauzer said...

That could be. Was J.W. a member of King's staff, a lawyer?