A New York state judge has ruled that a former Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe associate may only seek nominal damages in his claim alleging the law firm broke a promise to promote him to partner.

Patrick J. Hoeffner’s 2005 lawsuit against Orrick claimed that in 2002 the firm’s partners had promised to bring him into the partnership to forestall his leaving the firm and taking a client with him. The firm later allegedly reneged on the deal and fired him in 2004.

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