Donald Lewis, a lawyer involved in dueling litigation with his former colleagues at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, has sued the firm again, claiming $75 million in damages for allegedly defaming him in court papers and public statements.
Amid the escalating litigation, Pierce Bainbridge has retained Marc Mukasey, the former Greenberg Traurig shareholder who started his own boutique earlier this year and who represents President Donald Trump in some court matters. In a statement to ALM on Friday, Mukasey called it “an honor to represent” the firm and its partners in their litigation against Lewis.
“It’s a first-class law firm made up of terrific lawyers and great people. Don Lewis’ allegations are preposterous, meritless and frivolous. If he’s looking for a fight, he’s got one,” said Mukasey, who is currently in San Diego for the upcoming murder trial of another client, the Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.
In Lewis’ new suit against the firm, filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court, Lewis said Pierce Bainbridge’s suit against him last month and several LinkedIn posts by global managing partner John Pierce about the dispute smeared his reputation and merit more than $75 million in damages. He said the defendants defamed him and violated New York’s Judiciary Law, and he included screenshots of texts, emails, Slack messages and a photo that he said support his version of events.
The latest suit comes about three weeks after Lewis sued his former firm and Putney Twombly Hall & Hirson, the outside law firm that investigated a claim of sexual misconduct about him, over his firing and the probe that preceded it. Pierce Bainbridge responded to the first suit by suing Lewis in Los Angeles Superior Court for civil extortion, among other things.
In Pierce Bainbridge’s lawsuit last month, Lewis was accused of masturbating at the firm’s offices and of groping a staffer who saw it happening. He has denied those allegations and claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on Pierce’s poor stewardship of the firm’s money. He said Pierce Bainbridge and Putney Twombly conducted a sloppy and unfair investigation. His former firm said its probe found Lewis’ accuser to be “credible.”
Lewis’ new suit is intensely personal. Lewis accuses Denver Edwards, the Pierce Bainbridge lawyer who signed the law firm’s Los Angeles complaint, of putting his name to “legal garbage.” He calls Pierce “a depraved, desperate, pathological liar with not a shred of human decency,” and accuses his former colleagues of turning a blind eye to issues with Pierce’s leadership so they can get paid.
“When [Pierce] feared Lewis would expose him as the fraud and phony that he is, Pierce went in for the kill,” the suit said. “Pierce … went on to call [Lewis] a ‘credibly accused sex predator’ to a massive audience, including Lewis’ Harvard Law School classmates.”
The new suit doesn’t just allege defamation, but it includes a claim for violation of Section 487 of New York’s Judiciary Law for alleged attorney deceit. It also includes exhibits that Lewis said document more than 50 allegedly false statements by his Pierce, Edwards and his former firm.
“My papers speak for themselves,” Lewis said in an email to ALM. ”Unspeakable and irreparable wrongs have been done to me, but the truth always rises to the top.”
Lewis seeks to substantiate allegations of financial impropriety, attaching what he claims are emails, messages and texts allegedly showing Pierce’s assistant complaining about his excessive alcohol consumption, Pierce’s ex-wife asking the firm about alimony payments and Lewis and others expressing worry about the firm’s spending. Some of the evidence was described in Lewis’ first suit.
A representative of Pierce Bainbridge deferred to Mukasey for comment.