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Lawyer Objects To "Large Breasted Woman" In Courtroom

Illustration for article titled Lawyer Objects To Large Breasted Woman In Courtroom

A lawsuit against an Illinois car dealership took a strange turn recently, when the defendant's lawyer complained about a "large breasted woman" in the courtroom.

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The motion below is making the rounds of Chicago-area law listservs. It considers a suit before the First Municipal District Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois:


MOTION IN LIMINE
(Presence of Plaintiff's Counsel's Companion at Counsel's Table at Trial).

Now Comes your Defendant, Exotic Motors, by and through their attorneys, Gauthier & Gooch, and as for their Motion as aforesaid states to the Court as follows:

1. That Defendant's counsel is anecdotally familiar with the tactics and theatrics of Plaintiff's counsel, [redacted]. Such behavior includes having a large breasted woman sit next to him at counsel's table during the course of the trial. There is no evidence whatsoever that this woman has any legal training whatsoever, and the sole purpose of her presence at Plaintiff's Counsel's table is to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings before this court, obviously prejudicing the Defendant's in this or any other cause. Until it is shown that this woman has any sort of legal background, she should be required to sit in the gallery with the rest of the spectators and be barred from sitting at counsel's table during the course of this trial.

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When I called Gauthier & Gooch, an employee there confirmed that attorney Thomas W. Gooch III had authored the motion and dictated it to her. She could not confirm that it was formally filed — instead, she thought it might have been simply handed to the plaintiff's counsel. She also couldn't provide me with any details of the case. Exotic Motors declined to comment. However, I did reach Dmitry Feofanov, the attorney for the plaintiff. He sent me his client's initial complaint against Exotic Motors, the basics of which are the following:

1. On November 21, 2009, Plaintiffs bought a 2005 Cadillac CTS from Defendant
Exotic Motors, for $13,500.00, cash.

2. As part of the transaction, Defendant gave Plaintiffs an express written warranty,
which stated: "Exotic Motors will fix following items. Handbrake, Moldings, Ceelings [sic],
Battery."

3. The car broke almost immediately after the purchase.

4. Plaintiffs asked Defendant to repair the car under the warranty, but Defendant
refused.

Illustration for article titled Lawyer Objects To Large Breasted Woman In Courtroom

The plaintiffs are suing for "diminution of value of 50%, aggravation and inconvenience, loss of use, court costs, and attorney fees." And as for the "large breasted woman," Feofanov sent along his official response to the motion, which you can see at left.

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Illustration for article titled Lawyer Objects To Large Breasted Woman In Courtroom

The important part: Feofanov says the woman in question is his paralegal assistant, who has been paid as a paralegal by two different courts (he sent me documentation of this as well). His response also requests that the defendants' attorney reimburse the plaintiffs for fees associated with the motion, because it was without merit. He explains,

a) Plantiffs' paralegal is clearly qualified for the work she performs before and during trials, and there is no reason to believe that her appearance at Plaintiffs' table will have any detrimental effect on Defendants' presentation of its case to a jury; and b) Defendant's motion does not cite any existing law or make any good-faith legal argument for the proposition that a woman may be barred from a counsel's table at a jury trial because she is "large breasted."

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We've contacted Gauthier & Gooch again to see if they'd like to comment further on the issue, but for now, the "large breasted woman" motion seems like one of the strangest — and possibly most sexist — legal endeavors we've ever heard of.

Image via Mikael Damkier/Shutterstock.com

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DISCUSSION

Wow, it is amazing how angry and full of self righteous rage Jezzie readers get about stories that aren't actually demeaning a woman in any way. If anything, this lawyer is attempting to PREVENT a woman from being used as a piece of meat and demeaned for sexist purposes.

First off, most readers haven't even read the article correctly. The lawyer is arguing that, due to previous tactics this other lawyer has used, this woman should not be allowed to sit with plaintiff's counsel. That suggests that the paralegal is probably wearing inappropriate clothing that puts her breasts on full display in order to distract the jurists. Notice, he's not complaining the HE will be distracted, he's saying that the JURISTS will be distracted. This is COMPLETELY plausible. If a big breasted woman is wearing an extremely low cut top it can be distracting. It's not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a fact.

Which leads to another point. The lawyer is not saying that the paralegal should not sit with counsel because she has large breasts and is therefore stupid. He never once even suggests that. He is saying that the plaintiff's lawyer has a history of inappropriate courtroom tactics, using this woman, and to his knowledge this woman is not a lawyer. So unless there is proof that she's a lawyer, he does not want to give counsel the opportunity of abusing this woman's body for their own benefit.

Third, paralegal's do not sit at counsel's table. So why is she? That's a good question. Paralegal's do the grunt work, they don't present the case.

This lawyer is not arguing that this woman she not sit at counsel's table because she's too stupid because she has large breasts and therefore she simply MUST not be a lawyer. The law world is small once you start to get into specific fields and if this lawyer is known for using specific tactics then he probably has a legitimate complaint. He's not complaining about the woman, he's complaining about how counsel is inappropriately EXPLOITING the woman.

Jesus, it's so frustrating to read these comments condemning the Defendant's lawyer as this evil lawyer who thinks all women should stay in the home and can't possibly practice law because they have breasts. He never once says anything of the kind and never refers to women in an offensive or derogatory way. We may not like it but the reality is that some lawyer's are scummy and use women (or other similarly disgusting methods) to distract juries from the other side's arguments. This lawyer is only trying to create the most fair trial he can for his client against a lawyer known to use untoward tactics.