Ahh … there’s nothing like a good employment lawsuit by a disgruntled pro per paralegal, especially in the Silicon Valley office of a big powerful firm like Weil Gotshal.
And especially when said paralegal makes an accusation that an unjust paralegal overlord learned how to use “the pimp hand” and “the mojo hand” (management techniques, we hear) from one of the firm’s top IP litigators.
(How can you NOT click for more?)
Jason Herrera writes in his complaint (.pdf), filed last month in San Mateo Superior Court, that senior paralegal Chris Schmoller, “talked openly about how he was taught, by Mr. Powers according to Mr. Schmoller’s stories, to use “the pimp hand” and “the mojo hand” in order to oscillate between cajoling and forcing others to submit to his authority.”
(For those who don’t know, Matt Powers is one of the most feared, respected and successful patent litigators in the country.)
Herrera continues: “Whether these stories were accurate in their characterization of Mr. Powers or not, they created an atmosphere of fear and authority as they related to Mr. Schmoller and to Weil, Gotshal & Manges.”
The rest of the complaint focuses on how Herrera allegedly suffered at the hands of scheming senior paralegals. He’s suing the firm for discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraud.
Mike Ford, Weil spokesman, told Legal Pad that “Given the pendency of the litigation we do not believe it would be appropriate to discuss. We do, however, intend to fully defend the case and do not believe it has any merit."
Powers, who hadn’t read the complaint, told us he didn’t think it was appropriate to comment beyond saying “it seems wrong” after Legal Pad read him the part where his name is mentioned.
Reached Friday at Weil Gotshal where he still works, Herrera told Legal Pad he sued because he was out of options for resolving the problems. He has yet to serve the firm, and said he was contemplating Friday just how to do it.
We’ll spare you the gory details of paralegal power, sex, intrigue and discrimination that Herrera says led to the move from the patent litigation group to the complex commercial litigation group. But here’s what he claims the result was: He got less overtime and less money, which caused him some problems.
“For example, my available income, after rent, student loans and utilities, amounted to about $20 per day without overtime income. This $20 per day was what I had available to pay for transportation, clothing, entertainment, gifts for family, and the like. Prior to my transfer to the CCLT group, I had hundreds of dollars, often thousands, more each month. I was not able to date, fix my car, buy gifts for my family for any occasion or holiday and suffered harm and embarrassment as a result.”
Legal Pad has learned a surprising lesson, namely that being involved with all that geeky patent law actually gives you the money and the mojo to get hot dates. And speaking of mojo, we hope you’re enjoying this post, because if you’re not…don’t make us break out that other, less soothing hand.
— Zusha Elinson