After publishing her erotic novel, attorney Deidre Clark alleged she suffered sexual harassment and discrimination from her employers at the prominent law firm Allen & Overy. Clark is claiming emotional distress as part of her New York City lawsuit – and her ex-employers have ordered a psychological evaluation of Clark to disprove the claims.
Clark worked at the firm’s Moscow office while she wrote and published her book as a side project. After partners at the firm discovered the work of fiction, Clark claims she had an intoxicated sexual encounter with one of the firm’s partners. Shortly thereafter, she was terminated from her position as a Senior Attorney.
Clark alleges the incident inflicted emotional distress on her, leading to depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and thoughts of suicide. Allen & Overy’s lawyers won a motion to attempt to dispel Clark’s claims by means of a psychological evaluation.
“A mental examination by a psychiatrist is warranted to enable the defendant to rebut her emotional distress claims,” the appeals court wrote in its unsigned ruling in Clark v. Allen & Overy, 106717/11.
Reached by email, Clark said Friday that a gag order prevents her from commenting on the specifics of the case. “However, I can say that I have read the decision to which you refer and I believe, as a lawyer, that the court got the law wrong and that it is a dangerous precedent for sexual harassment victims,” she said. “Any reasonable lawyer would appeal it.”
Making a claim for emotional distress in your harassment case
As a sexual harassment victim, you may be entitled to compensation for economic losses such lost wages and reimbursement for legal fees. But you may also be entitled to money for “non-economic” damages, including emotional distress.
To support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous that it exceeded the bounds of a reasonable person’s behavior. Intentional infliction of emotional distress occurs when a person, through extreme or outrageous behavior intentionally (or recklessly) causes severe emotional distress, mental trauma and/or bodily harm to another.
If you are the victim of emotional distress, seek out medical and psychological attention. Then, contact a New York City sexual harassment lawyer to get immediate help with your potential legal case.
The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. For further information, please feel free to call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation or email at [email protected]
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