Sexual Harassment and Disability Lawyers
The Brooks Institute of Photography is dedicated to protecting photographers from frivolous and unfounded lawsuits. The institute is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Associated Photographers Guild (APPG). NALA is the voice of the legal community speaking out on behalf of its members against any abuse of the law.
Frank Brooks was a staff photographer for Time Magazine.
In this capacity, he discovered in 1992 that his then-employee, Steven Sugg, had been sexually harassing a female employee. Because the harassment occurred while Brooks was present, he was forced to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Sugg. A judge later threw out this case, ruling that Sugg was not acting in a sexual manner when he picked up the woman, but simply picking her up because she was attractive.
Because the dispute centered on a sexual act, Brooks was required by the judge to testify about his observations of Sugg during the course of their working relationship. In support of his testimony, Brooks released pictures of Sugg picking up the woman, in an attempt to disprove the plaintiff’s claims that Sugg targeted female employees. The legal case was eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence. In the wake of this disappointing event, Brooks decided to create the Brooks Institute. The institute offers legal representation to clients who seek damages for acts of negligence or discrimination.
According to David Collins, an attorney with the institute, the lawsuits filed by plaintiffs in such situations are often fraudulent.
He says, “The court rarely allows plaintiffs to present strong claims against someone else if those claims are facially plausible.” He goes on to state, “plaintiffs are often guilty of assuming that they can take advantage of the legal system just as they can a bank account.” He adds, “photographers do not become rich or famous by being railroaded into filing frivolous lawsuits.”
While many people may view the plaintiffs in a Brooks case as overly-money-motivated, Collins notes that his organization does not represent them. Instead, he advises potential plaintiffs to consult with legal professionals before pursuing a case. If one is unable to do so, he cautions against spending large amounts of money on such cases, stating, “charges of fraud and defamation are extremely serious.” Additionally, he warns against using contacts from previous jobs to obtain advice on which attorney to hire.
Of course, there are times when hiring a legal team will prove beneficial to plaintiffs. For instance, when a client is seeking monetary damages for injuries sustained during the course of employment, but is suffering from a long-term disability, lawyers from the institute can help. In these instances, it may be more beneficial for plaintiffs to retain a lawyer with experience handling disability issues. Also, if a client has been the victim of a sexual harassment case in the past, hiring a lawyer who has experience with cases such as these can prove helpful. With the proper legal representation, Brooks Institute photographers are able to protect the rights of their clients and provide the necessary direction in cases that involve employment or professional liability.