Topless Photo Lawsuit Against Lawyer Tossed

May 27 2011 | 12:32pm ET

In the case of the topless photos of a hedge fund manager's wife, one lawyer is in the clear.

A New York appeals court ruled this week that a lawsuit brought against the lawyer for two women who accuse Titan Capital's Russell Abrams of sexual harassment "could only have been brought to harass," as Thomas Wigdor is covered by attorney-client privilege. But although it upheld the lower-court ruling against Ronald Green, a lawyer for Abrams' wife, Sandra, it threw out the $1,000 sanction against Green, calling it unwarranted.

The case stems from a 2009 discrimination complaint filed by former Titan Capital assistants Danielle Pecile and Cristina Culicea. Pecile complained that Russell Abrams forced her to print copies of the topless photos of his wife, savoring her "embarrassment and discomfort," Pecile alleged. But according to the Abrams, that complaint followed a demand by Wigdor for $2.5 million in exchange for Pecile's copies of the pictures and their agreement not to bring the sexual harassment claim.

The Abrams responded with a  lawsuit of their own, accusing Pecile and Wigdor of improperly possessing the photos and of using them to blackmail her and her husband. That lawsuit was followed in kind by a lawsuit from Pecile and Culicea, accusing Russell Abrams and his brother, Mark, a vice president at Titan, of being abusive.

That lawsuit and the Abrams' lawsuit against Pecile are still pending.

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