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Used Car Lawyer Fears Brazilian Beauty May Be Small Claims Court Beast

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

One attorney fears beauty may be a real beast in a small claims lawsuit against his client--a used car dealership. A Chicago lawyer wants a buxom, Brazilian, woman removed from legal counsel's court table.

The Defense attorney seems to believe that a buxom woman -- seated at opposing counsel's table -- is an unfair tactic. Lawyer Thomas Gooch is defending a car dealership against disgruntled customers, a suit represented by plaintiffs' counsel Dmitry Feofanov in a trial slated to start this week. Before that trial comes an interesting pretrial motion: Attorney Gooch is arguing a Brazilian beauty be unseated -- from the legal counsel table.

Dmitry Feofanov has been self-described as a "consumer protection lawyer."

The plaintiffs' attorney stands accused of seating a Brazilian beauty "to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings" in a small claims court suit. Interestingly, the "beauty" in question happens to also be Dmitry Feofanov's wife.

Lawyer Thomas Gooch has filed a pretrial motion with the court: in representing the used car dealership, the defense attorney's asking a Cook County Circuit judge to order the female to sit in the gallery -- with all the other courtroom spectators. The only problem is that the 53-year-old Feofanov says Daniella Atencia, age 26, is not only his wife but also his paralegal assistant -- and that she therefore has every right to be sitting in that seat.

Short of calling the pretrial motion ridiculous, the plaintiffs' attorney contends that Gooch's pretrial motion cites no "good faith legal argument" as to why the Brazilian beauty can't sit with other legal counsel in court.

Attorney Feofanov tells The Daily Telegraph in London that his wife, Atencia, is university-educated, has a "brilliant legal mind" and is "actually overqualified as a paralegal." The lawyer also says : "Ms. Atencia is quite shocked at the tenor of comments pertaining to her physical appearance," and that the Brazilian woman "thinks the comments made about her have no place in the twenty-first century."

Attorney Feofanov is asking asked the judge to impose sanctions over the Defense attorney's pretrial motion to block the woman from appearing at the table.

Gooch maintains, as told to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, that he isn't objecting to the woman's presence at the table because she is buxom -- but claims his real reasoning is based on his personal belief that Atencia's not a qualified paralegal. Simultaneously the lawyer says: "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."

It would be interesting to know what Gooch would argue about an "ugly" woman seated at counsel's table.

While Defense attorney Gooch claims Atencia is not a "qualified paralegal," Plaintiffs' attorney Feofanov says his wife is in fact a paralegal and has been previously paid while serving in that role, in two court orders by Cook County judges. On both occasions the billing rate for Atencia's paralegal work has been $115 per hour.

But payment's not good enough for attorney Gooch: "That's not a qualification" to be a paralegal, the Defense attorney claims. "That means Dmitry handed up a bill to a judge that said paralegal on it. I don't believe it's a legitimate thing. It's a sham."

Representing a used car dealership, perhaps Gooch knows a thing or two about shams.


United States
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