Councilman Sues Law Prof for Vegetarian Bias Article
'Of Meat and Manhood' is defamatory, lawsuit filed by Robert Catalanello alleges.
Madison Borough Councilman Robert Catalanello has filed a lawsuit claiming statements in a law review article alleging he discriminated against a former employee at their investment company for being vegetarian are false and defamatory.
A 2011 Washington University Law Review article titled "Of Meat and Manhood" discusses a complaint that was brought against Catalanello and Credit Agricole CIB by former employee Ryan Pacifico in 2009. Pacifico's lawsuit was withdrawn this summer.
Pacifico sued after he was fired, claiming he was subjected to taunts and harrassment about his sexuality and being vegetarian after Catalanello learned he did not eat meat. The case drew widespread media attention when it was filed and became a central topic Zachary Kramer's law review article.
Credit Agricole and Catalanello denied the allegations and Pacifico's lawsuit was withdrawn with prejudice this summer. Pacifico paid his own attorney and legal fees, and he can't bring the claims again in another lawsuit, according to court documents.
"The underlying lawsuit was discontineud by the plaintiff with prejudice, and without the receipt of any money or anything like that," said Thomas Cafferty of Gibbons PC, Catalanello's attorney.
Catalanello's lawsuit was filed Dec. 28 in federal court in New Jersey. It lists Kramer, Washington University, and Western New England University School of Law, which hosted video of a lecture Kramer gave there referencing the article, as defendants.
In "Of Meat and Manhood," Kramer argues that while "vegetarianism and sexual orientation are not protected under existing employment discrimination norms," the law does protect against discrimination because of gender stereotyping, which he alleges is what Catalanello did.
Kramer writes, "vegetarianism and sexual orientation merely served as proxies for the real reason Catalanello and others discriminated against Pacifico — he failed to conform to the their idea of a 'real' man is supposed to look and act."
The lawsuit quotes 20 excerpts from the article that it says are false and defamatory.
A message seeking comment from Kramer, a professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in Tempe, Ariz., was not returned. Catalanello declined to comment. He is a managing director with Credit Agricole.