Karthryn Rubio had an article on Above the Law today about the rather nasty gender discrimination case that seven female attorneys have filed against Morrison & Foerster. [Morrison & Foester for good or bad, is known in the legal world as “MoFo”.] For those not familiar with MoFo, it is a gigantic law firm with over 1,000 lawyers and offices throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.
The plaintiffs are asking for $100 million – so this case was destined to get nasty. The plaintiffs allege there is a “mommy track” at MoFo that female attorneys get placed on after taking maternity leave from the firm. MoFo’s lawyers have already tried to to dismiss the claims of Jane Doe 4[“JD4”] asserting that she signed a release of all claims against the firm when she negotiated her severance package. JD4 responded that she had been under economic duress when she did so – as she was eight months pregnant when she was fired. The Court decided that JD4 had sufficiently pled economic duress and allowed her complaint to go forward.
Now MoFo is seeking to information from JD4’s current law firm about her performance. MoFo is attempting to “probe whether her performance is also viewed as subpar at her current law firm.”
JD4’s attorneys are objecting to the requests, claiming that simply by filing her lawsuit against MoFo, JD4 didn’t agree to allow her performance at subsequent law firms to be scrutinized.
Ms. Rubio’s article didn’t disclose if the judge has ruled on MoFo’s requests. But I have to say – I see MoFo’s point. If JD4 had poor performance reviews at subsequent jobs, MoFo could credibly argue that she was fired strictly for performance issues – and point to subsequent poor evaluations to corroborate that claim. I think JD4 is going to lose this battle.