Ex-Sullivan associate rounds on counter-suit

The former Sullivan & Cromwell associate at the centre of a bitter discrimination case against his old employer has moved to dismiss the New York firm’s counter-suit against him.

Sullivan’s own case against its former M&A associate Aaron Charney was filed on 1 February. It claims that Charney broke his attorney-client privilege and brought the 125-year-old firm into disrepute when he published grievances on website Greedy Associates before officially bringing them to the attention of firm management. It also alleges that Charney had stolen and leaked confidential documents regarding associate attrition at the firm.

Lawyers for Charney on 3 February argued that Sullivan’s case should be dismissed because most of the allegedly confidential information that Sullivan says Charney leaked was already in the public domain.

Specifically, Sullivan took umbrage at the fact that Charney had attached a copy of the firm’s partnership agreement to his original complaint.

But Charney’s lawyers are arguing that the agreement had been published previously in a book about the firm.

Charney is being represented by Daniel Alterman, name partner at Alterman & Boop, while Sullivan has instructed Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, with veteran litigator Zach Fasman leading.

Charney first filed his suit, for undisclosed damages, against Sullivan on 16 January, charging that he suffered discrimination from several high-level Sullivan partners when they found out he was gay.

He is suing under New York City human rights law. He was still a Sullivan employee until an unsuccessful settlement meeting on 31 January.

Sullivan responded by suing Charney on 1 February, then on 13 February the firm moved to dismiss Charney’s suit. In Sullivan’s motion to dismiss, it said Charney had destroyed crucial evidence – namely his personal computer’s hard drive. Charney admits destroying the computer.

Sullivan now has until 15 March to file responding papers and another hearing is scheduled before Justice Bernard Fried on 27 March at the Manhattan Supreme Court.