A sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former associate of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney, & Carpenter has been settled according to the New Jersey Law Journal. The settlement comes four months after Elina Chechelnitsky filed a complaint against the firm.
Plaintiffs recently not so successful in New York sexual harassment lawsuits
As per New York sexual harassment attorneys, the past few months have seen plaintiffs win damages that were comparatively smaller. One example is that of Alexandra Marchuk who fought a long battle against Faruqi & Faruqi but ended up with a lesser amount in damages since the jurors were not convinced that she was harassed by a partner. Harvard Law grad Ellen Pao also lost her case in which she claimed she was discriminated against because of her gender and was sexually harassed at Kleiner Perkins, the venture capital firm.
On March 10th, Elina Chechelnitsky filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed that women were required to sign a release and confidentiality agreement prior to any social contact with male attorneys after work. However, Chechelnitsky did not sign such a release.
Federal judge dismisses case following settlement
The latest reports suggest that following the settlement US District Judge Lorna Schofield dismissed the case without costs. However, the terms of the settlement have not been made public while the plaintiff’s New York sexual harassment attorney declined to comment further. In the lawsuit, Chechelnitsky claimed that the firm retaliated and fired her when she complained about gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
However, McElroy Deutsch refuted all allegations and even went on to call the suit frivolous. The defendants also claimed that she made a similar complaint in May 2014, which was terminated by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December without any action.
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Plaintiff alleges gender inequality and sexual harassment
According to court documents, Chechelnitsky claims that she complained to two partners about the lack of gender equality in December of 2012 and was subsequently fired in July 2013. While the reason cited for her termination was downsizing due to lack of work, she claims a male attorney was hired in her place in a few weeks. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff also alleged to have been subjected to sexual harassment by the male associate who was her immediate superior to whom she reported.
Apparently, her female mentor told her to stay away from the male associate who was notorious for harassing co-workers. However, Chechelnitsky claims she wasn’t able to stop the harassment. She also claimed that the received flirtatious emails from bankruptcy associate, Greg Trif from McElroy Deutsch’s Morristown office. She alleges to have met Lou Modugno, a partner from the same office in October 2010. When Chechelnitsky and Trif started dating, the latter told her that he was authorized by Modugno to give her assignments. Trif allegedly told the plaintiff that she would go far if she stuck around with both him and Modugno.
In her lawsuit, Chechelnitsky sought damages of around $1.75 million although details of the settlement have not been disclosed. Has she ended up with little or nothing for damages like Marchuk or Ellen Pao? One can only speculate right now. In a statement, her sexual harassment attorney said she was proud of her client’s decision to stand up for herself and for other colleagues in the legal profession.