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: