On October 26, 2020, Wigdor LLP filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court alleging that Goldman Sachs unlawfully fired in-house lawyer Marla Crawford as part of a cover-up of sexual misconduct by the investment bank’s Global Head of Litigation, Darrell Cafasso. Goldman Sachs, Mr. Cafasso and the bank’s General Counsel Karen Seymour are named Defendants in the lawsuit.
Ms. Crawford is a highly accomplished attorney with over three decades of litigation experience, including ten years at Goldman Sachs as an Associate General Counsel.
Mr. Cafasso allegedly used his position of power to romantically prey upon a much younger and vulnerable female attorney colleague, referred to in the Complaint as “Jane Doe.” Jane Doe repeatedly confided in Ms. Crawford about her quid pro quo relationship with Mr. Cafasso, according to the Complaint
As alleged, when Mr. Cafasso’s wife learned of his alleged conduct and he was forced to “come clean,” Ms. Seymour and Goldman Sachs retained Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP to conduct a sham investigation to quickly sweep the misconduct under the rug. Ms. Seymour is alleged to have expressly told another senior lawyer that it was a “sticky situation” and concluded: “Let’s try to put this genie back in the bottle.” When Ms. Crawford attempted to tell Human Capital Management that she had information that was relevant to the investigation, the Complaint alleges that she was told to keep her mouth shut and not speak about the matter further.
Despite his unlawful, harassing and unprofessional conduct, Mr. Cafasso remains at Goldman unscathed from his conduct. As alleged, in contrast, Jane Doe was forced out of the bank and hired prominent women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred — as part of her departure, Goldman likely forced her to agree to keep the entire matter confidential and to cooperate with Goldman should there be a need to do so in future litigation.
Ms. Crawford raised her own concerns about how the bank handled this entire matter. Mr. Cafasso then retaliated against Ms. Crawford by adding negative comments to her previously finalized performance review. After Ms. Crawford complained that this conduct was retaliatory, she was told that her bonus would be decreased for the first time in her 10-year tenure with the bank, the lawsuit alleges.
To fully get her out of the way, Ms. Crawford was fired shortly thereafter — a clear and blatant effort by the bank to get rid of an employee who spoke up against authority figures, as alleged. Ms. Crawford was initially told she could continue working at the bank through the end of November 2020; however, on October 25, 2020, when she informed Goldman through counsel that she would be commencing litigation, Goldman effectively accelerated the termination by shutting down her access to Goldman’s email and entire electronic platform, demonstrating overt retaliatory animus, the lawsuit alleges.
Wigdor LLP has filed a lawsuit alleging that top lawyers at @GoldmanSachs attempted to cover up sexual misconduct by the bank's Global Head of Litigation, Darrell Cafasso. GS's General Counsel Karen Seymour is a named Defendant in the lawsuit. #GoldmanSachs $GS pic.twitter.com/78xwNs0LFj
— WigdorLaw (@WigdorLaw) October 26, 2020
Statement from Marla Crawford:
“As a lawyer and professional, I always try to stand up for what is right. Unfortunately for Goldman’s top lawyers, that made me a liability. I will hold Goldman and its senior lawyers accountable for the blatant retaliation perpetrated against me.”
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor and David E. Gottlieb:
“Senior lawyers at Goldman Sachs should know better than to engage in sexual harassment, cover-ups and blatant retaliation against those who have the courage to speak up. Given these allegations, it should come as no surprise that Goldman has been referred to as the villain of Wall Street.”