NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - A New York judge
threw out a $77 million lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson Torres
& Friedman brought by a junior attorney who said he was cut
loose after boasting about his "superior legal mind" in an
email to the firm's partners.
In a ruling from the bench Tuesday, Manhattan Supreme Court
Justice Eileen Bransten dismissed the complaint of former
first-year associate Gregory Berry, who had accused his former
employer and two partners of behaving unethically, inflicting
emotional distress and attempting to thwart his future career
Berry is due back in court January 24 for a hearing on
whether he will be held in contempt, according to a clerk for
Bransten. The clerk said she could not comment on the reasons
for the contempt hearing.
Berry said he was fired last May, days after he emailed the
firm's partners to seek more responsibility.
"It has become clear that I have as much experience and
ability as an associate many years my senior, as much skill
writing and a superior legal mind to most I have met," his email
said, according to the complaint.
He was informed by a partner at the firm that his email had
"burned bridges" in the office, and he was fired a few days
later, according to the suit.
Berry also said he was fired for comments he made about
"possibly fraudulent" billing practices at the firm. In a brief
filed in September, Berry called his ex-employer
"extraordinarily vindictive" in its treatment of "an
enthusiastic and bright-eyed first perhaps overly excited to get
started in the practice of law."
Kasowitz has denied Berry's claims and said that he is in
"flagrant breach" of a confidential severance agreement that
paid him $27,000 in exchange for his waiver of claims against
Neither Berry nor an attorney for Kasowitz, Joseph Piesco,
immediately returned requests for comment Wednesday.
The case is Berry v. Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP
et al, in the Supreme Court of New York, County of New York:
Commercial Division, index no. 652274/2011.
For Berry: Pro se.
For Kasowitz: Joseph Piesco of Kasowitz Benson Torres &
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)
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