The Firms

March 25, 2010 11:57 AM

Secretary Sues Davis Wright After Panic Attacks, Firing

Posted by Zach Lowe

Over the last month or so, we've reported on a few lawsuits involving legal secretaries suing firms for allegedly denying them overtime pay. Today comes news of a legal secretary suing her former firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, for allegedly violating various state laws by increasing her workload and firing her after she suffered two panic attacks.

The plaintiff, Nancy Topolski, claims her problems began when Davis Wright laid off 11 secretaries in the fall of 2009, according to The National Law Journal, an Am Law Daily sibling publication. The cuts forced the remaining secretaries to take on extra work, and Topolski, who had previously supported three lawyers, now found herself assigned to a fourth, the NLJ reports. That lawyer, Greg Chaimov, of counsel at the firm, had a habit of giving Topolski assignments at "the last minute," the suit says, according to the NLJ. The rush to complete those assignments hurt the quality of Topolski's overall work, and she suffered two panic attacks last fall, the NLJ says. The firm fired her after the second one.

Topolski filed the suit in state court in Oregon and alleges wrongful termination and violations of various state employment laws. Davis Wright is representing itself and denies wrongdoing, the NLJ reports.

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