After months of delays, a former staff attorney’s racial discrimination suit against Covington & Burling is moving forward again. In new filings, Yolanda Young’s lawyer, Latif Doman of Washington-based Doman Davis, said his client was discriminated against during Covington’s job-assignment process. Doman also said that Young’s claims are not time-barred, as Covington has contended, because she underwent an evaluation within the statute of limitations for the claim.
On Friday, Covington, which is being represented by Michele Roberts, an Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner (pictured below), replied and asked Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant their request for summary judgment. The firm says Young has failed to show that she was personally injured by the firm’s job assignment policy, or that her claim isn’t too old to be heard in court.
The case bogged down in February, when Doman sought extensions to file an opposition brief to Covington’s motion for summary judgment. After Doman requested another two-week extension on July 23, his fourth such request, Walton granted a one-week extension and ordered him to file a response to the motion to dismiss by July 30. In the order, Walton wrote, “Given that the defendant's motion has been pending since February, 2010, the time for the plaintiff's response has come, and absolutely no further extensions shall be granted absent extraordinary circumstances.”
Walton has not said when he will issue a ruling on Covington’s motion for summary judgment. The case is set for a status conference on Dec. 16.
Roberts said today, “We remain optimistic, as we always have, that this case will be resolved in a way that reflects the value of Ms. Young’s claims. They are valueless.” Doman could not be reached for comment.
In January, Covington scored a partial victory when Walton threw out Young’s allegation that the firm's policy of not promoting staff attorneys to associate was discriminatory. Young, who is African American, had argued that by not promoting staff attorneys the firm had instituted a discriminatory policy because she claims they are disproportionately black.
Photo by Diego Radzinschi.