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Nathanson v. MCAD
Massachusetts Superior Court
2003 WL 22480688 (2003)
Attorney Judith Nathanson (plaintiff) refused to represent men in her divorce practice. Joseph Stropnicky, a male seeking a divorce lawyer, filed a claim against Nathanson with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (the commission) (defendant). The commission ordered Nathanson to cease and desist her discriminatory practices in refusing to represent men. Nathanson brought a lawsuit seeking review of the order and requested judgment on the pleadings. Nathanson first argued that the commission lacked jurisdiction over the matter because the state supreme court and state bar hold exclusive jurisdiction over attorney conduct. Nathanson also argued that she could not represent men because state ethical rules required zealous representation of all clients, while her commitment to representing divorcing women only prevented her from zealously representing men. Last, Nathanson argued that requiring her to represent men infringed her constitutional rights to free speech and association. The court denied Nathanson’s request for judgment on the pleadings and affirmed the cease-and-desist order requiring Nathanson to accept male clients.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fahey, J.)
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