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The gloves are off again in a dispute between recruiting giant Lynn Mestel of Mestel & Co. and a former recruiter for her temporary-legal-placement subsidiary HIRECounsel D.C. In October, Mestel sued Richard Thuemmler and his new employer, Legal eStaffing Inc., in D.C. federal court over a noncompete clause in his employee contract. Thuemmler filed a countersuit against Mestel and HIRECounsel, claiming that Mestel owed him thousands of dollars in back pay and unpaid commissions. But after agreeing in late July to dismiss the case and enter into a confidential settlement agreement, Mestel did an about-face on Aug. 9 and is now trying to reinstate the case. In a motion, Mestel’s lawyer, Allen Gardner of Latham & Watkins, alleges that after the case settled, another D.C. recruiter came forward contradicting Thuemmler’s claim that he had not engaged in soliciting HIRECounsel applicants, competed with HIRECounsel in any way, or worked in the temporary-attorney-placement business at Legal eStaffing. Thuemmler’s lawyer, Robert Greenberg of Friedlander Misler Sloan Kletzkin & Ochsman, argues that the settlement was complete, with Thuemmler agreeing to pay HIRECounsel $50,000. “We were ready, willing, and able to make the payment,” says Greenberg. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s buyer’s remorse.” If Judge Richard Roberts decides to reopen the case, Greenberg wants an evidentiary hearing. HIRECounsel declined to comment.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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