Dentons has resolved a lawsuit in which a business development specialist accused her direct supervisor, a former managing director at the firm, of sexual harassment.
Krunali Parekh, a business development specialist in the firm’s New York office, said in an explosive complaint filed in June that Alton Delane had kissed her on the face in front of colleagues, touched her in sensitive areas and used vulgar language to express a desire to have sex with her, all despite her requests that he stop. Parekh also accused Dentons of attempting to silence her complaints.
According to a notice filed in New York Supreme Court on Oct. 19, Parekh, Dentons and Delane had all resolved their differences and agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice. A spokeswoman for Dentons confirmed the resolution of the matter, but did not provide any additional information about terms of a settlement. Attorneys for Parekh and Delane did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In August, Parekh moved from Dentons to White & Case, where she handles business development for energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance, according to her LinkedIn page.
Earlier in the course of the litigation, Dentons denied the allegations and said it was unable to conduct a full investigation into Parekh’s claims after she failed to attend scheduled meetings with the firm’s human resources department. Represented by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, a national labor and employment firm grappling with its own sexual harassment claims, Dentons also struck back against Parekh’s claims that the firm and legal profession treat women “like objects.”
Delane’s lawyers at Kasowitz Benson Torres were more forceful in their pushback against Parekh, invoking the #MeToo movement. A 14-page filing by the firm called Parekh’s suit a “contemptible attempt to misappropriate the legacy, struggle and suffering of women who have actually experienced sexual harassment.” The filing by Kasowitz, a firm that once said it fired a partner over allegations of sexual harassment, said that Delane “at no time” engaged in “unwelcome or harassing conduct” toward Parekh, calling her “a liar and an opportunist whose claims will fail.”
Delane no longer works at Dentons, after earlier being put on administrative leave after Parekh’s complaints.
The filing by Dentons asserted that Parekh’s suit omitted the fact that she encouraged Delane to meet her for dinner and drinks after she had filed her internal complaint against him. Delane’s filing said that Parekh had once sent him a photo of herself in a bikini. The pair worked together in a role that involved planning events to promote Dentons’ venture technology practice. That involved scouting restaurants as possible locations for events.
Parekh was represented in the suit by New York’s Wigdor, which has made a name for itself in recent months by filing sexual harassment suits against cable network Fox News and ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc.
Earlier this year, Dentons suspended a partner in Europe who had been the subject of an investigation into inappropriate behavior. The partner later left the firm and was found to have engaged in behavior that Dentons said “fell well below the expectations that we have for our partners.”
Dentons is also being investigated by a U.K. regulatory agency over an employment discrimination case brought by a former recruitment manager who said she was retaliated against for taking maternity leave. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is currently weighing whether to refer the firm to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, according to a report Thursday from sister publication Legal Week.