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Former associate sues Bingham McCutchen

She says law firm brushed off report she was drugged

By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / June 27, 2009
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A former associate at Bingham McCutchen LLP sued the Boston law firm this week, complaining the firm brushed off her complaints that she was drugged by a co-worker at its holiday party in 2007.

The associate who filed the complaint, Michelle Moor, also alleged that a Bingham employee said he enjoyed giving women date-rape drugs and having sex with them. Moor also said she was told by a co-worker that the co-worker was drugged and raped by a Bingham employee the previous year. She charged that Bingham failed to investigate the allegations fully.

Moor, 31, who left Bingham in February 2008, filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination that same year. Moor, who now works as a lawyer at Kotin, Crabtree & Strong LLP, filed the current lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court after the state commission dismissed her complaint in April. She is seeking $155,000 in lost wages, plus an unspecified amount for emotional distress and other damages.

“By late January 2008, Ms. Moor no longer felt safe at Bingham,’’ Moor’s lawyers wrote in the lawsuit. “Between the drugging incident and Ms. Moor’s departure from the firm at the end of February 2008, nothing was done to notify female employees at Bingham about the potential risk they faced at firm-sponsored events.’’

In its decision, the state commission noted that Moor wasn’t sure who drugged her, whether it was a Bingham employee, or whether the drugging was sexual in nature. It also cited Bingham’s decision to fire the employee who made the remark about date-rape drugs. In addition, the commission wrote that it didn’t find sufficient evidence to show that Moor’s “working conditions were so intolerable that she would have felt compelled to resign.’’ In a statement, Bingham spokeswoman Claire Papanastasiou said the firm “acted sensitively, responsibly, and fairly. We are disappointed that she persists in pursuing baseless claims against the firm.’’

Moor’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com.