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Friday, February 1, 2008

Former Bx DA Warns he's a "yeller" - Tells Law Sec To "Move Her Fat Ass" (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Lawyer's Bullying Secretary Over Weight, Demands She Exercise Were Likely "Outrageous," Judge Rules
The Connecticut Law Tribune - By Thomas B. Scheffey - February 1, 2008

Noted Greenwich, Conn., criminal lawyer Philip Russell's conduct toward his legal secretary will probably be considered "outrageous" by the judge or jury hearing her civil trial, concluded Bridgeport, Conn., Superior Court Judge Richard P. Gilardi, awarding her a $75,000 pre-trial lien. Megan Lamothe is suing Russell for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Russell is currently on leave from his firm, serving a home confinement sentence for his admitted destruction of a hard drive containing child pornography while working for a Greenwich church. The church's music director was implicated. Russell, a former Bronx, N.Y., assistant district attorney, pled guilty to a single count of obstruction of justice, and was spared prison time.

Lamothe says Russell warned her at her first job interview that his law firm was in disarray and that he was a "yeller." Within a few months "he fulfilled his prophecy," with Lamothe resigning after the final outburst. During her course of employment, Russell said she had been a good employee, but harangued the 300-pound woman about her weight gain. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in February 2006.

She had diabetes and testified she was concerned about her ability to have a child.

Russell told the court "it's none of my business," about her health problems, but allegedly ordered Lamothe to exercise daily, to walk from the train station, and, she says, "constantly belittled, berated and screamed at her in front of her fellow employees," wrote Gilardi in his Jan. 18 ruling. Russell allegedly told her to "move her fat ass," called her "fat" and threw objects at or near her.

The alleged incidents of physical contact convinced Gilardi to issue the pre-judgment remedy. At one time a workman broke a light fixture in a stairwell and Lamothe called the building's management to clean up the debris. Upset, Russell allegedly grabbed her arm and brought her to the basement to get a vacuum cleaner. "When he couldn't open the basement door because the vacuum was in the way he pushed the door open, grabbed the vacuum, and threw it down the stairs, breaking it," Gilardi noted.

He then allegedly took Lamothe nearby to the lobby of the Patriot National Bank and "in front of the bank tellers and customers yelled to ask if there was a dust pan or a broom" Lamothe could use, then made her go get them.

On another occasion, Lamothe says she was outside smoking a cigarette, and Russell "came up and grabbed the cigarette out of her mouth and stomped it on the ground. He announced to everyone that she is '(expletive) sick' and told her that if he ever saw her smoking again she would be fired," Gilardi recounted. Russell conceded he might have told Lamothe she was sick because she was "fat," Gilardi noted, adding, "He said it was not beyond the realm of possibility that he told plaintiff she was 'retarded.'"

Russell, a former member of the Connecticut Law Tribune's editorial board, is defended in this case by Lewis H. Chimes of New Haven, Conn.'s Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Chimes & Richardson.

"I think, given the very low standard for a PJR in Connecticut, this wasn't a surprise, although I was surprised at the amount," Chimes said. "I think once the facts are known, it will be clear this is a garden variety workplace stress situation. [The tort of] Intentional infliction of emotional distress has a very high standard, and 90 percent of claims are not allowed." He added, "I don't think this case meets this threshold."

Lamothe is represented by the five-lawyer New Milford, Conn., firm of Guendelsberger, Collins, Henry & Guendelsberger. Her lawyer, Rebecca E. Guendelsberger, said her client is currently employed in a Bridgeport law office. She said the judge, "obviously recognized that my client was hurt. This is something that no employee should have to experience, especially someone who works for an attorney."


Anonymous said...

Russell is a real fat head!

Anonymous said...

I knew this idiot when he was in the Bronx, he hasn't changed. They should nail him hard.

Anonymous said...

Overall, plumbers are more level headed, and more decent as human beings than lawyers. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

I knew this bad seed from the Bronx. See, lawyers like this think they can get away with anything and any type of bad behavior. And they do get away with it, sadly.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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