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Attorney suspended for harassing co-worker who starred in horror film

Attorney suspended for harassing co-worker who starred in horror film

Arthur J. Usher IV is barred from practicing in Indiana for three years over retaliatory behavior toward woman who spurned his advances

A female attorney who appeared in a horror film probably didn’t expect to be tormented offscreen as well. But on Friday, the lawyer who ridiculed her got his comeuppance when the Indiana Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law in the state for three years.

Suzanna Hartzell-Baird got a job at Bose McKinney & Evans in 2008. Also in 2008, she starred in a low-budget horror film called “Only Fools Rush In.” After former Bose Partner Arthur J. Usher IV pursued a romantic relationship with Hartzell-Baird and was rebuffed, he found a clip from the movie in which she appears to be topless (in fact, it’s a body double) and began showing it to attorneys at Bose and other local firms, according to the complaint Hartzell-Baird subsequently filed with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Usher also fabricated an email thread of several lawyers ridiculing Hartzell-Baird, with the subject line “Bose means Snuff Porn Film Business.”

Usher claimed that the email was just a prank, protected by the First Amendment. The Indiana Supreme Court did not find this argument persuasive, writing that he had engaged in a “mean-spirited and vindictive attempt to embarrass and harm” Hartzell-Baird because she had rejected him.

Hartzell-Baird also sued Usher, but the lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

 

For more InsideCounsel stories about harassment, see below:

Law firm files counterclaim in sexual harassment suit

Burger King franchisee settles 14-year sexual harassment case with EEOC

EEOC presents advice on harassment by third-parties just in time for the holiday season

No protection from retaliation for internal investigators

Paula Deen says harassment claims are false

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