A woman has filed a verified petition to take pre-suit depositions of several partners and employees at Haynes and Boone seeking information regarding alleged humiliation and intimidation she experienced at the Dallas-based firm.
On Nov. 9, Susan Springman filed her petition in Dallas’ 68th District Court seeking an order authorizing her to depose four people, including Haynes and Boone partner Sue Murphy and managing partner Terry Conner. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202 allows a person to petition a court for an order authorizing depositions for use in an anticipated suit or to investigate a potential claim.
As alleged in In Re Susan Springman, Petitioner, the substance of the testimony Springman expects to elicit from Murphy, among other things, is whether Murphy “uses profanity toward employees”; has referred to Springman as “stupid”; “yelled,” “spat” and “threw objects” at Springman; “intentionally humiliated Springman”; “required Springman to perform maid and waitress duties”; “intentionally sabotaged Springman’s work performance”; “intentionally intimidated Springman”; and “has been required to participate in anger management by other partners at Haynes and Boone, LLP.”
Springman also alleges the substance of the testimony she expects to elicit from Terry Conner, among other things, is whether he “had any prior notice of any complaints against Ms. Murphy from other employees”; “said that Ms. Murphy’s behavior was not the ‘Haynes and Boone way’ ”; “had required that Ms. Murphy participate in anger management counseling”; “made statements indicating that Ms. Murphy’s behavior was a continuous and ongoing problem at Haynes and Boone”; and “has witnessed other partners behave abusively toward legal secretaries or associate attorneys and whether such abusive behavior is commonplace amongst partners at Haynes and Boone.”
In the petition, Springman also seeks testimony from an employee at the firm regarding “the decision to terminate” Springman, among other things.
Murphy and Conner each did not return a telephone call seeking comment. But in an email, Haynes and Boone general counsel Stacy Brainin writes: “These scurrilous allegations are absurd on their face. This request for depositions is an obvious attempt to embarrass a well-regarded senior partner. . . . Ms. Springman and her attorneys should be ashamed. No attorney or staff member has ever treated Ms. Springman in the manner described. Should this matter ever proceed further, we fully expect that any and all allegations made against the firm and its employees will be proven false.”
Rob Wiley of Dallas’ Rob Wiley PC, one of the lawyers who represents Springman, says he and his client do not take the potential for filing suit against Haynes and Boone “lightly” and they would not have filed the petition “unless we thought there was something that was worth looking at.”
-- John Council