Norton Rose Fulbright (Ivan Maslarov)
Norton Rose Fulbright can be added to a $100 million gender bias suit filed last year against its merger partner, Chadbourne & Parke, a federal magistrate judge ruled Wednesday.
Former partner Kerrie Campbell filed the suit in the Southern District last August, alleging Chadbourne consistently underpaid women.
The plaintiffs attorney, David Sanford of Sanford Heisler Sharp, on June 30 asked to add the successor firm, Norton Rose, to the suit as a defendant. His request came the same day the firms solidified their combination.
Sanford also asked to add allegations about a Chadbourne lawyer who sought to join the suit, Mary Yelenick, and add allegations about “material developments” since the complaint was filed.
Chadbourne’s attorney, Kathleen McKenna, a Proskauer Rose partner, objected to any amendment.
In a Wednesday discovery scheduling order, Southern District Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses granted Sanford’s request to amend the suit “for the limited purpose” of adding Norton Rose and allegations about Yelenick. She wrote that those amendments would simply “conform the pleadings to the current cast of characters,” before any substantive motions.
However, Moses denied Sanford’s request to add more details about “material developments,” reminding the parties of the June order from the Southern District judge overseeing the case, J. Paul Oetken, who rejected a proposed amended complaint for more retaliation allegations.
Oetken had denied competing motions and ordered “limited” discovery to determine if three former Chadbourne partners deserved protection under employment laws, or if their former status as partial owners of the firm disqualified them from bringing the suit.
Moses, in her Wednesday order, outlined 2017 and early 2018 deadlines for discovery and set an Oct. 20 status conference.
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