Monday, June 13, 2011

Law firm ousts two lawyers who allegedly made misrepresentations to federal judge

From the New York Law Journal:

Name partner Scott B. Gilly and associate Gregory N. Filosa have left Thompson Wigdor & Gilly after the firm was sanctioned by a federal judge for allowing a client whom the two attorneys represented in an employment discrimination case to conceal she had been hired at a new company for more money.

Douglas H. Wigdor, speaking for what is now Thompson Wigdor LLP, said Gilly and Filosa left the firm May 31 and June 1, respectively.

The move was a reaction to a decision by Southern District of New York Judge William H. Pauley on May 20 to sanction the firm $15,000 for allowing client Violet Fryer to testify at a deposition last year that she "didn't hear back" and "didn't get the job," in her suit against Omnicom Group Inc., when, in fact she had accepted a job at Kraft Foods two weeks before.

"We didn't believe it was in the best interests of our existing clients, our future clients and the firm that they continue as lawyers at the firm," Wigdor said in an interview Monday.

. . . .

A transcript of the May 20 hearing reports the judge saying he was upset that the two lawyers submitted, and then failed to correct, an expert's report stating that Fryer's potential economic loss could run as high as $1 million, a report that assumed she would not obtain new employment for the foreseeable future (NYLJ, May 27).

The Oct. 7, 2010 deposition, where Ms. Fryer testified she "didn't hear back" was "false," the judge said, and "Mr. Filosa should have recognized that Ms. Fryer's deposition testimony would mislead defendant's counsel into believing that she had not obtained new employment."

The judge said this became evident when he saw the videotape of the deposition.

"The body language and evasion is on the videotape," the judge said. "It's shocking and deeply disappointing to the court."

Judge Pauley declined to impose the ultimate sanction of dismissing Fryer's suit.

At the May 20 hearing Thompson admitted that mistakes were made, but said the firm had "taken steps ... to make sure this never happens again." He did not mention at the time that the two attorneys were leaving the firm.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal.


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