Jane Don't: Ex-Apple In-House Attorney Can't Sue Company Under Pseudonym

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 03, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A former in-house attorney at Apple sued the tech company this spring, alleging age discrimination, gender discrimination, and wrongful termination. The attorney, who worked at Apple for two years, says her male coworkers were regularly given preferential treatment and that she was fired after complaining about an environment of "fear and intimidation."

But she sued under the name of "Jane Doe." If she wants to pursue her claims against Apple, she'll have refile her suit under her real name, a Los Angeles judge ruled this week, the Recorder reports.

One Bad Apple

The Apple attorney worked in the company's Los Angeles office as a global product safety counsel, according to the Recorder. Her suit alleges that Apple gave male attorneys more flexible schedules and that when Apple's senior director, Michael Miramontes, joined the company, her work environment "became much more hostile and harassing."

In an amended complaint, the attorney says she was made to engage in acts "of moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption" that could potentially affect her standing with the California Bar.

In-House Attorney Outed?

In September, Apple asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson to strike the complaint for failing to list "the names of all the parties." Those threats to her bar status should allow her to hide her name, Jane Doe's attorneys argued.

Apple's attorneys disagreed. "Incredibly, plaintiff, who is an attorney, asks this court to allow her to proceed as Jane Doe because she breached her ethical duty of confidentiality as Apple's former in-house counsel by disclosing confidential communications," Apple argued in a recent filing. "Plaintiff thus asks the court to help cover up her ethical breach."

Judge Johnson didn't go quite that far, but he did require Jane Doe to refile her complaint within 20 days, under her real name. "Plaintiff's complaint alleges standard employment claims; there are no allegations concerning sexual activity, sensitive conditions, or other private matters that courts have recognized as exceptional," he wrote.

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