‘Search The Personal Emails,’ Judge Tells Chadbourne Team

Nov 9

As it appeared on Law360
By Pete Brush

Law360, New York (November 9, 2017, 2:11 PM EST) — Six lawyers who had senior positions at the former Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and are accused of underpaying women in a $155 million proposed class action, must search their personal emails for responsive information, a Manhattan federal judge said Thursday.

The judge said Thursday the lawyers’ personal accounts could hold information relevant to the high-profile case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses said the so-called Chadbourne defendants — Marc Alpert, Andrew Giaccia, Abbe Lowell, Howard Seife, Lawrence Rosenberg and Paul Weber — could very well be in possession of information relevant to the high-profile case in their personal accounts.

The defense had attested that there was no discoverable information but conceded they had not done “test searches.”

“Search the personal emails,” said Judge Moses, who made a point of saying she was not “impugning the honesty” of the defendants. In her experience in BigLaw, personal and work communications often overlapped, she said.

Chadbourne, which in June was swallowed up by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, had argued the accounts should be off-limits.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Judge Moses said, an allusion to the fact that at least one of the plaintiffs’ personal accounts has been deemed discoverable.

Attorney Kerrie Campbell, who was later ousted from Chadbourne, filed suit last year alleging the firm has a “boys’ club” culture that leads it to pay women less. Former partners Mary Yelenick and Jaroslawa Johnson have since joined the suit.

Alpert’s LinkedIn page says he now works as general counsel for Loews Corp. The other five individual defendants are at Norton Rose, according to the firm website.

Chadbourne lost on the personal emails but Judge Moses declined to give the plaintiffs access to the emails of three additional unnamed erstwhile Chadbourne partners, saying there was no reason to believe they would have information that would add to the lode the plaintiffs already are getting. But the judge allowed that the plaintiffs could revisit the application if events warrant.

Judge Moses gave the defense team an extra 15 days, until Dec. 15, to turn over what appears to be a large-size electronic discovery database.

Counsel for the warring former colleagues declined to comment outside court.

The plaintiffs are represented by David W. Sanford and Alexandra Harwin of Sanford Heisler LLP.

Chadbourne is represented by Evandro C. Gigante, Kathleen M. McKenna and Rachel S. Fischer of Proskauer Rose LLP.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP is represented by Steven M. Bierman Sidley Austin LLP.

The case is Campbell v. Chadbourne & Parke, case number 1:16-cv-06832, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

–Editing by Emily Kokoll.

Share This:




Back to Top