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Jones Day Judge Sides With Firm in Sex Bias Pleadings Fight

Sept. 9, 2019, 2:36 PM

Female associates suing Jones Day for alleged pay, pregnancy, and other sex discrimination can’t add details to their lawsuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled.

Nilab Rahyar Tolton and the five other women leading the class suit previously filed their one “as of right” amended complaint to add new allegations and identify three of the plaintiffs, Judge Randolph D. Moss said Sept. 6. Several of the women had originally sought to pursue the lawsuit anonymously, he said.

The ruling is a win for Jones Day, which challenged a third amended complaint the women filed Aug. 16 without first seeking court approval. The women had filed an authorized second amended complaint after a fourth female associate denied permission to sue as a Jane Doe decided to no longer participate as a lead plaintiff.

But Jones Day’s victory may be short-lived. The court said it would treat the women’s third amended complaint as a motion for leave to amend their pleading. It gave Jones Day until Sept. 16 to explain why that motion shouldn’t be granted.

The $200 million suit alleges that female attorneys’ careers are stifled by the sex bias they face. They’re also subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation when they become pregnant, the suit alleges.

Sanford Heisler Sharp represents the women. Jones Day represents itself.

The case is Tolton v. Jones Day, D.D.C., No. 1:19-cv-00945, order 9/6/19.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com