Former paralegal's suit calls Houston attorney Laminack a 'sexual predator'

Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 31, 2008, 8:33am


A former paralegal at one of Houston's power-house law firm claims she was wrongfully terminated for rejecting the sexual advances of superstar attorney Richard Laminack.

Angela Robinson alleges that Laminack is a "sexual predator" whose behavior has been condoned for years by his employers and fellow attorneys.

Robinson filed suit against Laminack, his former firm O'Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle, now the O'Quinn Law Firm, and his current firm Laminack, Pirtle & Martines on July 25 in Harris County.

Robinson was employed as a paralegal by the firms from May 2002 to what she claims was her wrongful termination on April 14, 2008.

She is alleging that for years, Laminack used his position of power to demand sexual favors from male as well as female employees both before and after working hours, at the office and at other locations.

The "voracity" of Laminack's sexual appetite, Robinson alleges, was well known by his peers and superiors.

"Laminack was and remains a sexual predator," the suit states.

Robinson's case will be heard by Judge Tracy Christopher of the 295th Judicial District.

Laminack, a 1983 graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, was senior litigator with OLP from 1987 to 2006.

He made headlines and millions for the firm when he litigated the first jury verdict to award damages to women injured by silicone breast implants and the record-setting $1.3 billion verdict awarded to the family of a woman who allegedly died after taking the "Fen-Phen" diet drug.

He founded Laminack, Pirtle & Martines in 2006.

"Knowing full well of Laminack's proclivities, OLP and LPM simply adopted the expedient practice of enabling Laminack's tastes by handsomely compensating injured employees in exchange for their perpetual silence," court documents state.

Robinson calls Laminack's behavior an "open secret" that became a "tradition" at both firms.

"Laminack's trysts are well known and an established part of both firm's 'lore'," writes Robinson's attorney Andrew McKinney of McKinney & Cooper in Houston.

The complaint alleges that it became well known among employees that giving into Laminack's demands for sexual favors meant "job security, raises, bonuses and promotions," whereas rejecting him meant "adverse employment consequences, up to and including termination."

Robinson says Laminack began to "focus his sights" on her when she was hired by OLP at age 23. The harassment began with sexually-oriented jokes, comments about her physical appearance and unwelcome physical contact.

One of Laminack's more explicit requests described in the lawsuit allegedly occurred in the spring of 2005.

The firm had paid a doctor more than $100,000 to testify as an expert witness, but the doctor was floundering during a deposition. Robinson claims Laminack told her to go back to his office, wait for the doctor and "take care" of him so that "he would be in a better mood" and more likely to testify favorably for the firm's client.

"The clear implication of Laminack's suggestion was that, at a minimum, Robinson was expected to fellate Laminack's very expensive yet defective expert witness," the suit states.

Her fate as an employee of the firm was sealed, Robinson claims, in December 2007 when she refused Laminack's offer of $15,000 to join him for a long weekend in Las Vegas.

In addition to the sexual battery claims, Robinson's suit alleges she uncovered an illegal kick-back scheme to defraud LPM's Fen-Phen clients. Robinson claims she told Laminack about the illegal activity, who instructed her to keep quiet about it and go along with the scheme.

The woman says despite being told she was the best paralegal the firm ever had, she was terminated from Laminack, Pirtle & Martines without explanation in April.

Robinson is seeking damages for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination as a whistle blower and at least $55,000 for unpaid overtime and attorneys' fees.

Case No. 2008-45045

More News