Gloria Allred at the center of another storm

By A. James Memmott

August 11, 2010 at 12:14pm

When Gloria Allred talks, CEOs, corporate boards and golfers listen.

The lawyer for a series of women in high-profile cases played a key role in the events that led to the ouster last week of Mark V. Hurd, the chairman, CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Hurd’s troubles began in late June when he received a letter from Allred, a Los Angeles attorney, on behalf of her client, Jodie Fisher, a B-movie actress who was employed by H-P.

Gloria Allred
Gloria Allred

In the letter, Allred reportedly charged Hurd with sexual harassment in his relations with Fisher.

The accusation triggered an investigation by H-P’s board that did not support the harassment claim.

However, Hurd was dismissed for allegedly falsifying expense reports to hide the fact that he had private dinners with Fisher.

The details of the harassment accusation have not emerged, as Fisher and Hurd reached an undisclosed settlement.

However, each has said that sex was not involved in their relations. And Fisher, through Allred, has said she was sorry that Hurd lost his job.

Allred has described Fisher, 50, as a “single mom focusing on raising her young son.”

Fisher has had small roles in several lesser-known movies including Intimate Obsession and Blood Dolls.

In 2007, she was a contestant in the reality dating TV show, Age of Love. According to Reality TV World, she was one of seven “cougars” vying for the attention of Mark Philippoussis, the Australian tennis player.

Fisher, described then as a “vice president of a commercial real estate company,” was the first woman to be eliminated.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Fisher had worked for H-P as a contract employee who helped stage events for customers and executives.

The behind-the-scenes settlement of her accusations against Hurd resembles a case from last year in which Allred represented Rachel Uchitel, one of several women said to have been a mistress of golfer Tiger Woods.

Uchitel was about to have a news conference detailing an affair with Woods when she went silent, making no statement to the press.

Lisa Bloom, Allred’s daughter and a CBS legal analyst, said that Uchitel had agreed to say nothing in exchange for an amount “in excess of a million dollars.”

Allred also represented another of Woods’ alleged mistresses, the porn star Joslyn James, also known as Veronica Siwik Daniels.

A 69-year-old native of Pennsylvania, Allred is a founding partner of Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, a firm that focuses on discrimination and abuse cases.

Her clients have included the family of Nicole Brown Simpson, the murdered wife of O.J. Simpson, and Amber Frey, a lover of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci.

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