Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred is under investigation by two attorney licensing agencies, Allred said on Monday.
Allred confirmed in a statement that she is being investigated by both the District of Columbia Bar and the California State Bar based on the same complaint by her former client, Los Angeles weather reporter Kyle Hunter.
The California State Bar probe was revealed by Hunter in April but the D.C. Bar investigation had not been made public until now. Allred denies any wrongdoing and said she would be vindicated by the probes.
Hunter declined to reveal the substance of his complaints against Allred, but told TheWrap in April that he felt betrayed when he learned that she was representing him against CBS Broadcasting at the same time she was negotiating her own contract with CBS Television Studios to produce a series based on her life.
Hunter said in a statement this week that “Allred severely injured me and my family and refuses accountability.” He said that “serious Bar investigations are rare, so I am pleased that both The State Bar of California and the D.C. Bar are conducting serious, formal investigations into her conduct.”
The details of the bar probes are confidential at this preliminary stage, the California State Bar said.
Bar investigations are required when anyone files a complaint, Allred said.
“All Bars investigate all complaints against lawyers,” Allred said on Monday. “This is routine and expected.”
“Anyone may file a complaint against any lawyer in any state or jurisdiction in which a lawyer is licensed,” she said. “This complaint which Mr. Hunter filed with the Washington, D.C. bar some time ago is the same complaint that he filed with the California Bar.”
Allred denied any wrongdoing in her representation of Hunter, who lost his gender discrimination case after Allred’s law firm spent several years of fighting on his behalf in California courts.
“Mr. Hunter has been threatening to sue our law firm for approximately one year in an attempt to get our law firm to pay him money which he is not entitled to,” Allred said in a written statement released earlier this year after Hunter revealed the California State Bar investigation.
“We represented Mr. Hunter vigorously and with devotion and with the utmost integrity,” she said in the previous statement. “He has no valid claim against our law firm or its partners and we will pay him nothing for his worthless claims. We will vigorously defend ourselves and we believe that we will prevail. ”
Hunter’s age and gender discrimination lawsuit accused CBS Broadcasting of allegedly passing him over for Los Angeles television weather reporting jobs and hiring young women reporters “cut from the same blond, attractive, buxom mold.”
Allred’s TV deal with CBS Television Studios was made public by “Newsroom” writer/executive producer Deborah Schoeneman, who told reporters in September 2015 that she had a script deal with CBS Television Studios for an untitled legal drama series inspired by Allred’s life, with Allred as an executive producer.
According to California legal ethical rules, attorneys are not supposed to pursue personal interests that conflict with their client’s interests unless they get approval from their client.
Allred has worked on a slew of high-profile suits, including a a defamation case filed by “Apprentice” alum Summer Zervos, who claims President Donald Trump falsely branded her a liar after she accused him of grabbing her breast without her consent and unwanted aggressive kissing. Allred’s political activism included serving as a delegate for Hillary Clinton.
The California Court of Appeal dismissed Hunter’s case against CBS on Jan. 19, 2016, ruling that CBS had shown that it did not discriminate against Hunter because it employed both young women and middle-aged men as its weather reporters.
Not only did Allred lose Hunter’s case against CBS, but Hunter said he learned that CBS used an obscure California law called the SLAPP statute to win dismissal of his case — and saddle him with CBS’s legal bills.
“When it was all over, . . . I got an email telling me that it I had to pay CBS $800,000 for attorney’s fees and costs,” Hunter told TheWrap in April. “I told them I would have to file for bankruptcy because I don’t have that kind of money.”
Hunter told TheWrap in April that he settled with CBS and did not pay any money to the network, but he would not disclose the terms of the settlement.
Normally, individuals who lose their discrimination cases do not owe any legal fees to the companies they sued. But the SLAPP law requires the side that loses the SLAPP motion to pay for the winning side’s legal fees, which can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.