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Jones Day Blasts Married Lawyers’ Amended Suit as Publicity Ploy

March 10, 2022, 4:11 PM

Amendments two married former Jones Day associates made to their job bias lawsuit against the firm—adding partner Traci Lovitt as a defendant and new factual allegations—were procedurally improper, a further grab for media attention, and should be stricken, Jones Day told a D.C. federal judge.

Mark Savignac and Julia Sheketoff filed the third amended complaint in the August 2019 paternity leave, sex discrimination, and retaliation suit on Feb. 23 without first seeking Jones Day’s consent or permission from the court, the firm said Wednesday.

The couple’s time for amending the suit without consent or permission expired more than two years ago, Jones Day told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Savignac and Sheketoff knew that because they previously filed two other amended complaints and one supplemental complaint after first seeking consent or permission, the firm said.

Their failure to follow the governing procedural rules at this point in the case “is inexcusable and justifies striking their Third Amended Complaint,” Jones Day said.

The new pleading should also be stricken because the new claims and allegations Savignac and Sheketoff added “are futile, unnecessary, prejudicial, unduly delayed, and made in bad faith,” the firm said.

Lovitt’s role in the drafting of a press release the firm issued at the time the suit was filed, which the couple say was retaliatory, has long been known to Savignac and Sheketoff, Jones Day said.

She assumed a lead role as counsel for Jones Day after indications that the couple planned to sue, the firm said.

And the court has already ruled that Lovitt’s communications regarding the press release are privileged, Jones Day said.

Allowing the couple to add Lovitt as a defendant at this point would materially prejudice its defense in the suit, Jones Day said.

It would also sanction their latest publicity ploy, which was to assert in the new amended complaint that Lovitt has been pegged to eventually become Jones Day’s managing partner, the firm said.

Whether or not that’s so has no relevance to their lawsuit, and the couple left the firm more than three years ago and lacked a good-faith basis for making the assertion, the firm said.

Adding Lovitt as a defendant and suggesting she’ll be its new managing partner was instead doubtlessly meant to generate headlines, which it did, Jones Day said.

Savignac and Sheketoff represent themselves. Jones Day represents itself.

The case is Savignac v. Jones Day, D.D.C., No. 1:19-cv-02443, motion to strike third amended complaint 3/9/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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