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Chicago lawyer objects to buxom woman at trial table

Attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov says DaniellAtenciis his paralegal. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov says Daniella Atencia is his paralegal. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 3, 2011 12:43PM

A Chicago lawyer says his opponent in a small-claims case is using an unfair tactic by having a buxom woman sit next to him at counsel’s table.

Attorney Thomas Gooch said the woman’s sole purpose “is to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings” — a dispute over a used car. He’s asking Cook County Circuit Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to order the woman to sit in the gallery with other spectators.

Responding to Gooch’s pretrial motion, attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov said the woman is his paralegal assistant and that Gooch cites no “good-faith legal argument” why she can’t sit at the table reserved for each side’s legal counsel. Feofanov asked Rivkin-Carothers to impose sanctions on Gooch for his motion.

Gooch said he wasn’t objecting to the woman because she’s buxom but because he doesn’t think she is a paralegal.

“Personally, I like large breasts,” Gooch said. “However, I object to somebody I don’t think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table — when there’s already two lawyers there — dressed in such a fashion as to call attention to herself.”

Gooch said he and Feofanov previously faced off in mandatory arbitration and that he objected to the woman sitting at the counsel table and arbitrators asked her to leave.

According to Feofanov, the paralegal — identified in court documents as Daniella Atencia — has been paid as a paralegal in two court orders by Cook County judges. Both times, the rate for the paralegal was $115 an hour.

“That’s not a qualification,” Gooch said. “That means Dmitry handed up a bill to a judge that said ‘paralegal’ on it.”


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