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U.S. Law Firm Anderson Kill Seeks Disqualification of Plaintiff’s Lawyer in Employment Lawsuit
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In a recent development, the New York-based law firm Anderson Kill has taken legal action to disqualify Tiffany Ma, the attorney representing their former chief financial officer, Paul Schwartz, in an employment lawsuit. The suit alleges that the firm forced Schwartz out following a fall and concussion he suffered in February 2022. Anderson Kill plans to designate Ma as a “necessary witness” in their defense, asserting that professional rules prohibit her from serving as a witness and as Schwartz’s legal counsel.

Background and Allegations

Schwartz engaged Ma to represent him in negotiations regarding his return to work after the incident that occurred in February 2022. According to Anderson Kill’s filing, communication between Schwartz and the firm ceased in May 2022, and he exclusively communicated through Ma until June 2022, when the firm terminated his employment. Anderson Kill argues that Ma’s dual role as a witness and lawyer violates professional regulations.

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The Firm’s Defense

In response to the disqualification request, Anderson Kill contended that if Ma were disqualified, Schwartz would need to find new legal representation, a situation for which he and Ma are responsible. The firm emphasized this point, stating that any inconvenience to Schwartz is a consequence of his or Ma’s actions.

Legal Maneuvering

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Ma, a partner at Young & Ma law firm, responded by stating that she and Schwartz would “let the record speak for itself” and promised to file their response soon. Meanwhile, Anderson Kill, represented by Littler Mendelson, declined to provide additional comments beyond their court filings.

Schwartz’s Lawsuit Against Anderson Kill

In August, Schwartz initiated legal proceedings against Anderson Kill and two of its employees. His lawsuit alleges that the firm harassed him into returning to work prematurely and subsequently terminated his employment, violating federal and New York discrimination laws. Schwartz claimed that the firm pressured him to resume work despite a doctor’s advice to reduce his workload due to post-concussion syndrome.



Discrimination Allegations

Schwartz’s lawsuit further contends that he faced discrimination based on gender, asserting that women at the firm received more time off compared to men. According to Schwartz, the firm adheres to an “outdated stereotype” that expects men to be physically present in the office, creating an uneven work environment.

Anderson Kill’s Defense Against Discrimination Claims

In response to the discrimination claims, Anderson Kill, in court papers, highlighted instances where Schwartz was permitted to work from home between March 2020 and June 2021. The firm argued that during this period, Schwartz was afforded more flexibility than female colleagues who had sought similar arrangements. Anderson Kill maintains that it acted within the bounds of reason and fairness.

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Presently, Schwartz holds the position of Director of Finance at New York law firm Cohen, Weiss, and Simon. This role reportedly pays more than his position as an Anderson Kill billing manager but less than his previous role as chief financial officer.

The case, identified as Schwartz v. Anderson Kill PC, is before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York under docket number 1:23-cv-07204. The legal proceedings are poised to unfold further as both parties present their arguments and evidence in this contentious employment dispute.

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