There is a bizarre lawsuit in Nevada alleging that Bar Executive Director Kimberly Farmer has subjected her employees to “screaming attacks” and abuse that led to mistakes in grading the February 2010 bar exam — mistakes leading to people who flunked the bar being admitted into practice.
The lawsuit was brought by former admissions director, Patrice Eichman, and two other former employees (Tiffany Breinig and Georgia Taylor) over what she describes as an alleged “reign of terror.” The complaint includes the statement that “Farmer subjected the plaintiffs and other long-term employees of the State Bar to verbal and mental abuse, physical coercion and intimidation in a deranged effort to divert attention from her own incompetence.”
The Complaint alleges breach of employment contracts, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligent hiring and supervision of Farmer, tortious discharge, tortious discharge in violation of public policy, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Board of Governors has supported Farmer and issued a letter claiming that “complaint essentially amount to griping by former employees who could not, or would not, adapt to changing work requirements.” The article below however notes that the Board itself is accused of a cover-up — and that it previously showed the same lack of response to allegations of abuse: “When Ms. Farmer’s behavior was brought to the attention of the (Bar) Board of Governors, it pursued its pattern and practice of conducting a sham investigation and covering up the misdeeds of its executive director.” The Complaint also alleges that Farmer was hired out of “cronyism” within the Bar organization.
It includes detailed allegations like (at paragraph 45) that Farmer “borrowed” Taylor’s copy of a critical ABA report and never returned it: allegedly to deny her the ability to initiate reforms called for by the report.
Some of the allegations seem a bit forced. Eichman alleges (paragraph 2034) that she was assaulted by Farmer, who threw a document at her and slammed her hand on the desk. The allegation seems pretty weak — stating simply that Eichman was “forced to move her chair.” The same is true about the false imprisonment allegation (paragraph 213) where Breinig alleges that Farmer falsely imprisoned her by closing the door to Breinig’s office and standing between her and the door — leaving her feeling “trapped” and “fearful.”
Here is a copy of the Complaint: statebar3282011
The Bar has posted information as background on the lawsuit on its website. It states in part:
Based on the facts reported, the Board of Governors concluded:
1. The investigator had conducted a thorough and independent investigation;
2. Despite his best efforts, he could not find sufficient information to credibly sustain the former employees’ allegations;
3. Much of the criticism of Ms. Farmer was based on inaccurate rumors; and
4. Much of the balance of the criticism of Ms. Farmer resulted from her implementation of fiscal and other policy changes mandated by the Board of Governors to improve the operations of the state bar.
On June 8, 2010, the Board of Governors sent a letter to all state bar employees reporting their conclusions based on the investigation and communicating their support for Ms. Farmer’s implementation of the Board’s new policies.
The case is Eichman v. State Bar (Case No. A637892, District Court, Clark County, Nevada).