Verbal abuse allegations come to surface in a Denver intra-firm law suit

On May 18, 2018, a Denver lawyer sued her two partners for breach of contract while also accusing them of verbal abuse, citing it as the reason she was forced out of the firm she had 1/3 equal ownership to.

The prosecutor, Natalie Gray, claims that in 2017 she confronted one of her partners about his verbally and emotionally abusive behaviors, stating that he was directing such behaviors towards herself and the firm’s two female assistants. She then claims that due to the confrontation, she was forced out of the firm.

Business Den reported on the case and assessed that it involves Natalie Gray, Sean Dormer, and Kevin Harping. The three lawyers all graduated law school within three years of each other in 2011-2014 and later formed the law firm Dormer, Harping, & Gray. The company began operations in 2016 with each of the members holding an equal stake in the firm.

The lawsuit alleges that since 2017 there had been multiple instances of verbal abuse and reproachful comments made by Dormer that were directed at Gray and the two legal assistants at the law firm.

The first instance of abuse was dated March 2017, during which time it is alleged that Dormer made multiple “disparaging remarks” toward Gray for her decision to take a vacation. Seven months later, in October, Dormer is accused of saying that Gray is not “partner-worthy” and going on to accuse her of embezzling money.

Gray stated in her law suit that several purchases has been made on her firm credit card after her cell phone—which had all of her credit card information on it—was stolen. Gray also stated that she reimbursed the firm for the charges that were incurred during that time.
While Dormer’s language wasn’t quoted verbatim, he was accused of calling one legal assistant an “idiot” who “doesn’t know how to figure things out”, then telling the same woman not to forget that she isn’t “brain-dead like [the] client,” they were helping at the time.
According to the lawsuit, Dormer was also accused of telling Gray to “shut the f**k up” during an all-firm meeting, and telling the women in the office that they must “limit their responses to his questions to a single sentence.”

According to Gray, after she confronted Dormer about his behavior, she was asked to resign.

When she did not, both Dormer and Harping told her that her salary was to change from $4,500 per month to $1 per month in an attempt to cause her resignation. In response to Gray’s allegations, the lawyer representing the defendants denies Ms. Gray’s claims, and states that the case is simply due to a business disagreement. Dormer’s alleged response to Gray’s claim that her cell phone was stolen was one of disbelief. Allegedly, Dormer believes the theft to be untrue and suspects that Gray, her father, and her boyfriend are at fault for the unauthorized charges on the firm credit card.

According to the lawsuit, Dormer didn’t think that he and Gray made for “good partners”, stating that Gray doesn’t “fit in with what he envisioned for his smaller firm”.

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