Oh, how we love a good game of legal volleyball. Patrice Lataillade, the ousted Marc Jacobs executive who sued the company for wrongful termination, says his former employer’s counterclaim accuses him of money laundering not because he made any unsound financial moves, but because the company is trying to protect its president Robert Duffy from embarrassment.
Lataillade’s original lawsuit claims he was fired from the cushy posts of CFO and COO in September after he objected to the “unlawful environment” and “sexually charged atmosphere” Duffy created by making his employees do things like watch gay porn and perform pole dances at his request. He names Duffy, Marc Jacobs International and LVMH in the suit. Those companies turned around last week to accuse Lataillade of misrepresenting certain expenses and inventories to make it seem like the company was better off than it actually was. Marc Jacobs International alleged in a court filing that Lataillade inflated the company’s coffers by some $20 million so that he could take home big bonuses. Lataillade’s lawyers say it’s all clever misdirection. Per Women’s Wear Daily:
Debra Raskin of Vladeck Waldman said, “It is surprising that [the defendants] are saying these things now only after they have been sued when they are contending financial issues that go as far back as 2008. It is surprising that they are denying matters as to the hostile environment when there are pictures, videos and other evidence known at the higher levels of the company.”
Anne Vladeck, her co-counsel at Vladeck Waldman, said, “Our position is this is a further retaliation and they are trying to attack Mr. Lataillade rather than deal with the environment they let Robert Duffy create.”
See. We told you legal volleyball was fun. Lataillade’s lawyers are expected to file a response to the newest counterclaim next month, and we can’t wait to see what they fire back.