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Johnsons link sees Theodores take over sexual harassment case from Clintons
Theodore Goddard has scored its first instruction from Van Morrison, advising on a claim against the rock star that was originally handled by media firm Clintons.
Theodores advised Morrison on a sexual harassment case brought by Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerry Lee Lewis, which was ultimately settled on 13 January after six hours of discussions in an employment tribunal in Cardiff.
The case first surfaced 19 months ago, when Lewis, a singer-songwriter who had toured with Morrison, brought a claim of unfair dismissal. She alleged that Morrison had sacked her with three months remaining of a tour after she had told Morrison she was leaving at the end of the tour. Lewis also claimed that Morrison had made unwanted sexual advances and told her to divorce her husband.
Although Paul Tweed, a top media lawyer from Irish firm Johnsons, handles most of Morrison's legal matters, Clintons was originally appointed because the case was being heard at an employment tribunal in Cardiff.
The tribunal rejected the original claim in December 2001, on the basis that Lewis could not actually be termed an employee of Morrison. But the tribunal ruled that five allegations of sex discrimination could be heard at a full hearing.
In May 2002, there was an attempt by four media parties to overturn a restrictive reporting order, which Clintons defended successfully.
The case was then passed on to Theodores in the summer of 2002. Theodores employment partner Mark McQuillan declined to comment on why Clintons did not continue to advise on the matter, although he said that the instruction came to Theodores because of its close relationship with Johnsons.
"Morrison totally denied the claims," said McQuillan, "And we were ready to vigorously defend him." Both parties, however, eventually agreed to an undisclosed settlement.
Commenting on the case, Tweed said: "Mr Morrison remains very disappointed that the legal process has taken nearly two years to reach this stage. However, he is pleased that these claims have finally been withdrawn.
"He has now accepted a full apology [from Ms Lewis] and a comprehensive retraction which represents a complete vindication of his position from the outset."