ATLANTIC CITY — Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred has won court permission to represent nine middle-aged former cocktail servers who claim they were fired by Resorts Casino Hotel to make room for younger women who would look sexier in skimpy costumes.
Resorts had sought to bar Allred from the New Jersey discrimination lawsuit, arguing in court papers that her “flamboyant and headline-grabbing antics” would add nothing to the case.
Superior Court Judge Joseph L. Marczyk, in an order signed Oct. 18 and made public Tuesday, ruled that Allred and her law partner, Nathan Goldberg, can participate in the litigation. Allred and Goldberg, both based in Los Angeles, had to receive court approval to appear in the case because they are not licensed to practice law in New Jersey.
“I am very happy that the court has decided that plaintiffs may have counsel of their choice. I look forward to representing my clients in this important case,” Allred said in a statement emailed to The Press of Atlantic City.
Representatives of Resorts declined Tuesday to comment on the order.
Marczyk placed a number of conditions on Allred and Goldberg, including that no discovery, motions, proceedings or a trial be delayed because of their inability to attend. They will not be allowed to serve as trial counsel. And Allred and Goldberg must have all their pleadings, briefs and other court papers signed by an attorney who is licensed to practice in New Jersey.
Allred already has a Pennsylvania-based attorney, Virginia L. Hardwick, as co-counsel. Hardwick is licensed to practice in New Jersey.
Allred has developed a national reputation for representing high-profile clients in discrimination and sexual-harassment cases, winning hundreds of millions of dollars for them in the process. Her widely publicized press conferences and frequent TV appearances have made her a celebrity in her own right. Allred said in a September interview that Resorts did not want to face a lawyer who has her “record of success.”
In court papers, Resorts had claimed that Allred and Goldberg do not meet the standard for out-of-state attorneys to be admitted to a New Jersey case. The casino also had criticized Allred for her “grandstanding public behavior.”
“While undoubtedly Ms. Allred, the ‘G-woman’ and ‘celebrity lawyer’ who seeks admission in this case, is singularly adept at generating media exposure for herself, it is respectfully submitted that no good cause exists for her admission or that of her partner in this litigation,” Resorts had argued in a court document in September.
Resorts alluded to a highly publicized May 31 press conference in which Allred proclaimed herself a “G-woman” who would aggressively represent the former cocktail servers in their legal battle. G-woman is a twist on G-men, the slang term for federal agents in the Prohibition era.
“Resorts may have their G-men and Mr. Gomes, but my clients have their G-woman as their lawyer and advocate,” Allred said at the press conference, held on the Boardwalk in front of Resorts, to announce the suit.
The litigation stems from Resorts’ rebranding into a Roaring ’20s theme. The new theme includes having cocktail servers dress in revealing costumes reminiscent of the sexy outfits worn by the Prohibition-era flapper girls. Allred singled out Dennis Gomes, Resorts’ co-owner and chief executive officer, who has overseen the retheming.
The nine former cocktail servers contend they were fired because Gomes and Resorts considered them too old to wear the revealing costumes. Resorts has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that its hiring and firing practices are legal.
In March, Resorts was slapped with two other New Jersey discrimination suits filed by 46 ex-cocktail servers who alleged they were fired because they did not look sexy enough in the Roaring ’20s costumes. Those two suits were not filed by Allred. Attorneys expect all of the suits to be consolidated at some point.
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