Risk Update

When PR Headlines Might Hurt and Heat up the Risk Waters

Biglaw Partner’s (Alleged) Butt Shaking Gets Him In Hot Water“–

  • “Dennis Duffy, a partner in the Houston office of BakerHostetler, represents Chevron in an employment discrimination case… during the August mediation session Duffy’s alleged behavior included ‘shaking his behind’ in front of Kennard. Additionally, the filing alleges that Duffy mocked Kennard’s ponytail and intimated that because of the hairstyle Kennard would want to have sex with Duffy.”
  • “Because of this alleged display of unprofessional behavior, Kennard is asking the judge to remove Duffy from the case.”
  • “For their part, BakerHostetler is denying the allegations made in the filing: ‘While we are unable to comment on anything discussed in a confidential mediation, we strenuously deny the assertions made in Mr. Kennard’s filing,’ BakerHostetler said in a statement.”

Shortly after news of this motion for sanctions and disqualification came to pub light, the story developed: “Atty Accused Of Shaking Butt At Adversary Replaced” —

  • “The petrochemical company, a joint venture between Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66… is now represented by Norton Rose Fullbright. [It writes]: ‘CP Chem deeply regrets and apologizes that the encounter which is the basis of plaintiff’s motion now burdens the court… CP Chem intends that its counsel represent it zealously and professionally.'”
  • “CP Chem said the allegations advanced by White’s attorney Alfonso Kennard Jr. are ‘not substantiated’ and suggested Kennard waited until the eve of an upcoming deposition to file the motion in a bid for ‘leverage in this case through press attention unrelated to its merits.'”
  • “At any rate, CP Chem said, the fact the incident took place during mediation meant that under the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act and the court’s local rules the whole matter is confidential and shouldn’t be before the court in the first place. Litigating the issue would mean introducing more inadmissible evidence, the company said.”