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Stakes Growing Higher in 'Faruqi Gets Freaky' Harassment Lawsuit

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By William Peacock, Esq. on April 30, 2013 3:59 PM

Lawyers living lasciviously. Litigation ensues. Claims and counter-claims are rushed to the courthouse, and the press. Now, the stakes get even higher, as the plaintiff has just amended her sought damages from $7 million to $13 million. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, has stated that they plan on amending their counter-claims as well, though we have no idea if they'll ask for more than their initial request of $15 million.

Really, $15 million from a debt-ridden recent law grad practicing foreclosure law in Nebraska? Good luck with that.

For those unfamiliar with the tale of Alexandra Marchuk v. Faruqi & Faruqi, it all began when the young, naive, debt-ridden female attorney worked as a summer associate at the plaintiff-side firm. She claims she was sexually harassed by Juan Monteverde, a partner of the firm.

It got worse when, in a desperate student loan-driven decision, she accepted post-graduation employment by the firm. Monteverde allegedly had her assigned to him, and him alone. After dozens of inappropriate happenings, including sexual quips and groping, she claims that he had forcible intercourse with her in his office after a firm holiday party.

The firm jabbed (or filed) back with counter-claims, alleging that there was merely consensual kissing at a bar, followed by Monteverde denying Marchuk's sexual advances. The firm claims that the negative publicity from her allegedly false claims have cost the firm dearly, as they have had to put a new public sector practice area on hold due to clients' reactions.

If you are into salacious details, the venerable Above the Law has a breakdown of the original complaint as well as the counterclaims.

Today's amendments to the complaint were a legal counter-punch to the firm's claims. According to Reuters, Marchuk's attorney, in court papers, said, "The Defendants' true purpose in filing the counterclaims was to retaliate against Ms. Marchuk by generating negative publicity about her." He highlighted the firm's issuance of a press release addressing their counterclaim.

There's not really a lesson here for all of you young associates and associates-to-be. If she's telling the truth, Monteverde is a despicable human being. If he's telling the truth, she's a frivolous litigant seeking undeserved compensation to pay off her student loans. Either way, both parties' reputations are suffering while everyone else (besides the firm's clients and principals) are just watching the spectacle and waiting for their Orville Redenbacher to pop.

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