The Quality of Mercy Is Strained: How the Procedures of Sexual Harassment Litigation against Law Firms Frustrate Both the Substantive Law of Title VII and the Integration of an Ethic of Care into the Legal Profession
Despite the Supreme Court's clarification of substantive sexual harassment law in Faragher and Ellerth, achievement of remedies remains problematic because of the at times labyrinthine procedures of Title VII litigation. This is especially true when sexual harassment occurs in the legal profession because defendant law firms understand how to frustrate substantive outcomes and plaintiffs must look to the same system that engendered the harassment to provide them with remedies. Female plaintiffs that apply a feminist ethic of care to the dispute by seeking an in-house remedy first are likely to be further disadvantaged because of procedural requirements like mandatory waiting periods and statutes of limitations. This Note chronicles the thirteen-year litigation journey of RoxAnne Rochester, a female attorney, from the initial battery she suffered from her firm's managing partner in 1990 through her current efforts to collect her judgment in bankruptcy court in 2003. Using Rochester as a case study, the Note analyzes the imbalance of power between sexual harassment plaintiffs and defendants at the pre-filing, discovery, trial, and post-trial stages of litigation. The Note concludes by proposing changes, both substantive and educational, to existing procedures that would encourage the equitable resolution of these types of claims before the commencement of litigation.
The Quality of Mercy Is Strained: How the Procedures of Sexual Harassment Litigation against Law Firms Frustrate Both the Substantive Law of Title VII and the Integration of an Ethic of Care into the Legal Profession,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol78/iss2/15