A New York legal firm sued one of its attorneys, accusing her of using remote work as a vehicle to “quiet quit” while she devoted herself to a new venture.
Defendant Heather Palmore filed a countersuit against Napoli Shkolnik, accusing the firm, which specializes in personal injury litigation, of mistreating minority employees, “brazen bullying” and seeking to “intimidate people who stand up to them.”
The firm’s lawsuit, filed Feb. 23 in state court, accused Palmore of “breach of fiduciary duty of loyalty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty of loyalty, injurious falsehood, unjust enrichment, declaratory judgment and constructive trust.”
Palmore “misrepresented her skillset, experience, and book of business to obtain a position with Napoli Shkolnik, where she took advantage of the new remote work environment to ‘quiet quit’ her job, and simultaneously worked for two law firms at once,” according to the firm’s lawsuit, filed in Nassau County.
The firm accused Palmore of “performing little to no work for Napoli Shkolnik, and while directly competing with the firm by simultaneously running Defendant Palmore Law Group, PC”
In her counterclaim, Palmore said partner Paul Napoli recruited her to be the firm’s chief trial counsel in October 2021.
“Ms. Palmore has been subjected to and witnessed egregious race and disability discrimination by senior management as part of their standard operating procedures,” she said in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court Monday.
Palmore said she agreed to engage in mediation to settle her claims but claimed the firm used the time to “fabricate its own bogus lawsuit to file before Ms. Palmore could file her lawsuit — and gain some ill-conceived strategic advantage by filing first.”
She said an “example of egregious discriminatory conduct” happened in December 2021, when “a stuffed bear was hung from a noose on a light fixture in direct view of her office.”
Palmore also cited the firm’s hiring of Kenneth Cheseboro as another example of the “opposite of attempting to create an environment with heightened ethics and inclusivity.”
Cheseboro has been tied to efforts by Trump’s legal team to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to Palmore’s filing.
“Mr. Cheseboro’s fake elector plot largely targeted ballots with large Black populations in an attempt to overturn former President Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election,” according to Palmore’s complaint.
Lucas Markowitz, a lawyer representing Napoli Shkolnik, confirmed Cheseboro’s employment by the firm but said it shouldn’t be considered in Palmore’s case.
“This week’s filing is the first time Ms. Palmore has expressed any concern or outrage regarding the hiring of Mr. Chesebro as counsel in June of 2022,” Markowitz said in a statement.
“He is a lawyer who has worked with Napoli Shkolnik for decades on high profile appeals. Once again, he is making allegations that are false and come months after the incident took place, and have absolutely nothing to do with the fraudulent discrimination claims.’ ‘
The firm said that Palmore was never committed to her job and that she established her own company almost as soon as she was hired.
“Further, not even one month after Defendant Palmore was hired by the Plaintiff, Defendant Palmore established her own separate law firm — the ‘The Palmore Group, PC’ — which she was operating and marketing while claiming to work on a full time, attention , and energy basis for Plaintiff,” it said.