Legal Filing Implies End to Bias Lawsuit Against Alina Habba

Alina Habba is seen on the Fox News Channel on Aug. 16, 2022.

Alina Habba (via YouTube screengrab/Fox News Channel).

An employment discrimination lawsuit against the law firm of a high-profile Donald Trump lawyer appears to be over.

Na’syia Drayton sued Trump lawyer Alina Habba and law firm Habba Madaio, so-named for Habba and her legal partner Michael Madaio, in July, alleging that she experienced harassment and discrimination based on her race and gender.

A tersely-worded court filing, dated Sept. 6 and apparently filed on Sept. 12, indicates that the case has come to an end, although it is very light on details.

“It is hereby stipulated and agreed by and between counsel for Plaintiff and counsel for Defendants that the Complaint shall be and hereby is dismissed with prejudice and without fees or costs against any party,” the document says.

It is signed by Jacqueline Tillmann, lawyer for Drayton, and Howard Matalon, who represents Habba’s firm.

Representatives for the parties did not immediately reply to Law&Crime’s request for comment. Tillmann reportedly told the Daily Beast that the parties “reached a resolution,” but couldn’t comment on the details. The report noted that Tillman had repeatedly emphasized the word “resolution.”

As Law&Crime previously reported, Drayton, who is Black, said that she endured a workplace culture in which Habba and Madaio repeatedly made Drayton feel uncomfortable because of her race and gender.

“[Habba and Madaio] seemed to particularly enjoy listening to, and rapping along with what is generally perceived and classified as gangster and hip-hop music, to energize, motivate and otherwise ‘pump themselves up’ prior to making court appearances,” Drayton’s complaint alleged.

The songs that Habba and Madaio chose, according to the complaint, “were patently offensive and/or inappropriate” because of the “repeated use” of a derogatory racist slur for Black people, the “inferred sexual objectification of women in the songs,” and the “explicit, highly sexualized language.”

Drayton alleged that Habba invoked racial stereotypes while at a staff meal: a comment that Habba allegedly made “during a staff luncheon at a restaurant, wherein [Habba] loudly recommended to [Drayton] that she order the fried chicken meal because it was good, and because ‘you people like fried chicken.”” [emphasis in original removed.]

Drayton, who said in her complaint that she was the only African-American employee at the firm, also accused Habba of referring to New York Attorney General Letitia James in a racist and sexist way after receiving an adverse ruling in a case against James, a Democrat who has spent years investigating the former president and his family. In addition to her civil probe, James has been assisting in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) criminal investigation.

After one hearing in the civil case, the complaint states: “When [Habba] learned that she lost her matter, and that the Judge rejected her legal argument, [Habba] emerged irate from her office (where she and [Madaio] were meeting) and shouted ‘I hate that Black b***h!’” [emphasis in original removed, asterisks added.]

Habba then “began parading around the office seething about the Judge, and complaining that she had lost her argument,” according to the complaint.

Drayton, according to her lawsuit, was “appalled about the racist remarks made about the Attorney General, Letitia James, and felt astonished that her supervisor, [Habba], felt comfortable and entitled to make such statements in the workplace, in her presence.”

Around this time, Drayton alleges, she began suffering from panic attacks.

In addition to the discrimination claims, Drayton sued for negligent inflection of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The complaint refers to Habba and Madaio together as “the Caucasian Defendants,” although according to the complaint, Habba pushed back on that characterization.

“I used to be bullied because I am Arab,” she allegedly told Drayton, adding that she believed Drayton was “trying to be offended.”

Drayton had worked as a legal assistant at the firm from November 2021 to June 2022, according to the complaint; she had previously worked with Habba at a different law firm.

The conclusion of this lawsuit isn’t likely to diminish Habba’s highly-public role as Trump’s attorney; she has been vocal in her disdain for the Justice Department’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence for official records he is suspected of having wrongfully taken with him when he left the White House, and, according to legal experts, she may have implicated herself as a witness in that case.

Read the stipulation to dismiss the case, below.

[Image via YouTube screengrab/Fox News Channel.]

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