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A discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a former contract partner against Duane Morris has survived the law firm’s motion to dismiss. U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, allowed to stand several claims in an action brought by Gail Beesen-Dwars against the Philadelphia-based firm and David Yelin, managing partner of its Chicago office. Jane Dalton, a partner with the firm, also is named as a defendant. Beesen-Dwars, who was a real estate contract attorney hired in Duane Morris’ Chicago office in 2000, alleged that she was the victim of age and sex discrimination following a different lawsuit filed against the firm by her secretary. The secretary claimed that Beesen-Dwars had made a racial remark against her, an allegation that Beesen-Dwars asserts was later disproved. In a 31-page decision issued July 24, the judge permitted Beesen-Dwars to proceed with some of her claims of sex and age discrimination, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and failure to promote. The judge dismissed several of her claims, including some alleging discrimination that fell outside limitations period. The judge also ruled that the law firm did not create a hostile work environment when it investigated the secretary’s allegations. Duane Morris’ general counsel Michael Silverman said that the firm was “pleased that the court dismissed many of Ms. Beesen-Dwars claims at this preliminary stage of the case.” The judge gave the plaintiff 14 days to amend her complaint.

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