Objections to Gay Lawyer's Defamation Claim Overruled
But counsel for Anapol Schwartz, Weiss and LeWinter, Gaetan J. Alfano of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti in Philadelphia, told The Legal in March that Anapol Schwartz did apologize to Downs for the comments made at the Facebook meeting and did implement training related to preventing harassment and hostile work environments thereafter.
The complaint further alleges that Downs was subject to other "abusive comments" during his time at the firm.
"Specifically, there were ongoing comments made regarding 'fags' and 'gays have nothing else to do other than giving each other "blow jobs"' and statements that Downs should not be worried about his pay and payment of expenses since 'he did not have a family' — a direct comment that gay men do not have a family," the complaint alleges.
According to the complaint, Downs made several complaints during his tenure at the firm but his concerns were never addressed. Instead, the complaint alleges, Anapol Schwartz began to retaliate against Downs by failing to provide him with adequate legal support and failing to adjust his pay to reflect his contributions to and responsibilities within the firm.
In January 2012, LeWinter, who was preparing to leave Anapol Schwartz for Raynes McCarty, asked Downs to accompany him in the move, according to the complaint.
By February 2012, Downs had a job offer from Raynes McCarty, which he accepted, according to the complaint.
Downs was scheduled to move his furniture to his new firm March 24, 2012, but on the afternoon of March 23, 2012, according to the complaint, Downs received an email from Ronca requesting that he attend an "'exit interview'" with Ronca, Weiss, LeWinter and the firm's outside counsel.
Downs called Ronca and expressed an interest in amicably resolving issues he had with the transfer and payment of fees for his cases, expenses and vacation, saying he would like to meet with Ronca and Weiss without the presence of outside counsel, according to the complaint.
During that phone conversation between Downs and Ronca, according to the complaint, Ronca asked Downs whether he had spoken with Anapol Schwartz shareholder Tom Anapol the previous day about the way the firm had treated Downs during his tenure.
Downs told Ronca he had, the complaint said.