Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lawyer Complains about Large-Breasted Woman at Opposing Counsel Table

A local lawyer has complained in a pretrial motion that opposing counsel has a "large breasted woman sit next to him at counsel's table" whose sole purpose "is to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings."
Attorney Thomas W. Gooch asked a judge to order the woman "to sit in the gallery with the rest of the spectators" and bar her from sitting at the counsel's table "until it is shown that this woman has any sort of legal background."
The case in Cook County Small Claims Court is a dispute over a used car purchased from Exotic Motors in November 2009.
Gooch's opposing counsel, Dmitry N. Feofanov, responded that the woman is his "paralegal assistant" and contended that Gooch cites no law or "good faith legal argument" why she can't sit at the counsel table.
Feofanov asked Circuit Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to impose sanctions on Gooch for Gooch's original motion.
Feofanov's firm is ChicagoLemonLaw.com, P.C., located in Lyndon, Ill. He represents the plaintiff in the used car dispute.
"If you got a crappy car, you called the right place," says his voice on his answering machine.
Feofanov has described himself in other cases as a "consumer protection lawyer" who in his previous life, "after coming to this country with the third wave of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union in the late 1970s … was a concert pianist."
Gooch represents Exotic Motors. He is name partner in the law firm of Gauthier & Gooch with offices in Wauconda and Chicago. That firm focuses on professional malpractice, family law and civil litigation.
Gauthier & Gooch's website says it is "known for their brand of aggressive litigation."
"What I objected to was not a woman with large breasts," Gooch said in an interview. "Personally, I like large breasts.
"However, I object to somebody I don't think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table — when there's already two lawyers there — dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself."
Gooch said in another case, he was in mandatory arbitration in Cook County when Feofanov was the opposing counsel. Gooch said he objected to the same woman sitting at the counsel table and "the arbitrators wouldn't let her stay at the table."
To that, Feofanov, responded:
"I do not believe it is professional to try a case in the press. In response to press inquiries, I have provided the press with publicly available documents and my involvement ends here."
Feofanov gave Gooch's original motion complaining about the large breasted woman at the counsel table to a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reporter in a response to a request, along with Feofanov's legal response.
Feofanov also provided other documents showing that his "paralegal assistant," identified in one place as Daniella Atencia, has been paid as a paralegal in two court orders by Cook County judges. Both times, the rate for the paralegal was $115 an hour.
"That's not a qualification," Gooch said. "That means Dmitry handed up a bill to a judge that said paralegal on it. I don't believe it's a legitimate thing. It's a sham."
Gooch also said, "We're going to put her on the witness stand, ask where she want to school. … I'll be the first to apologize if she turns out to be a trained paralegal. I don't think she is."
Feofanov said he received Gooch's motion complaining about this woman in a packet of pretrial submissions that lawyers give each other.
Gooch said he believes the motion has been filed by mail. "If it hasn't been filed," Gooch said, "I assure you it will be filed."
The case is Song and Maria Sayavongsa v. Exotic Motors, Inc. No 10 M1 106807. According to Feofanov, the trial date is June 28 in Room 1403 of the Daley Center.

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