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A former associate at San Francisco-based Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold sued the firm last week, alleging it stiffed her out of money it owed her for bringing in a lucrative client. Megan Doan, who resigned from the firm in January 2009, claims that Sedgwick violated its associate fee-sharing policy when it refused to pay her $32,000 for originating a commercial litigation matter from Brian Caffyn, the chairman of renewable energy company UPC Solar Management LLC. She is seeking that amount plus one month of her former salary, according to her attorney, Robert S. Aaron of Aaron & Wilson in San Francisco. “It’s our contention that the $32,000 constitutes wages, and that money has been willfully withheld,” Aaron said. “She is entitled to 30 days of wages on top of that.” A Sedgwick spokesman declined to comment on Thursday. According to the suit, Doan brought Caffyn to the firm in 2007. Segwick’s associate and special counsel fee-sharing arrangement called for originating attorneys to receive 10 percent of the collected fees with no more than 5 percent of the total written off. The policy calls for fee sharing to be at the discretion of the managing partner when more than 5 percent of the total fees and disbursements are written off, according to the complaint. Doan received a number of fee-sharing payments until the third quarter of 2008, when the firms informed her that her cut of the fees was $64,000, though she would only receive half that amount. The remaining $32,000 was being withheld to “cover the possibility of future problems with payment,” according to the suit, which was filed on Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court. The suit claims breach of contract and that Sedgwick violated California labor law. After resigning from the firm, Doan made informal attempts to collect the outstanding $32,000, but has been ignored by the firm, Aaron said. Doan is now an associate at Murrin & Associates in Lafayette, Calif. This isn’t the first time a former associate has filed suit against Sedgwick. Alan Levy sued the firm for discrimination last year, claiming that he was fired in December of 2008 after asking to no longer work for a specific partner in the New York office. The firing came after Levy took a seven-month medical leave following a psychological breakdown, which his suit claims was brought on by having billed 3,000 hours in a year.

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