What happens in mediations stays in mediations – or should. Dennis Duffy, a lawyer who has practiced in San Antonio, El Paso and now in Houston, attended a mediation in Houston in 2019. According to Above the Law blog, he tried a new tactic at the mediation. The plaintiff’s lawyer was Alfonso Kennard. Mr. Duffy represented the defendant. Mr. Duffy, shook his “booty” in front of Mr. Kennard and mocked Mr. Kennard’s ponytail. Mr. Duffy suggested that he, Mr. Kennard, wanted to have sex with Mr. Duffy, because he has a ponytail.
In response, Mr. Kennard submitted a motion seeking sanctions and the disqualification of Mr. Duffy. The two lawyers oppose each other in a discrimination lawsuit against Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., LP. Mr. Duffy has worked at large law firms most of his career. He currently is a partner at Baker Hostetler in Houston. See Above the Law post here. According to the motion for sanctions and for disqualification, Mr. Duffy said to Mr. Kennard: “Do you want to f— me? You have a ponytail haircut. I figured you want to f— me…..” See ABA Bar Journal report. As Mr. Kennard mentions in his motion, litigation is tough enough when the lawyers work together. Litigation becomes almost impossible when the two opposing lawyers are not working together. See White v. Chevron Phillips, No. 19-CV-00187 (S.D. Tex.).
This is the same Dennis Duffy who once said at a CLE that he is an unreconstructed Rambo lawyer. That description appears to be accurate.
As it turns out, Mr. Duffy and his law firm were replaced as counsel for Chevron the week after the motion was filed. The new law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, apologized for “the encounter” at the mediation, while denying that the “encounter” was described accurately by Mr. Kennard.