Abercrombie & Fitch Sued by Ex-CEO Mike Jeffries, Demanding to Cover Legal Fees Related to Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

By Jace Dela Cruz

Dec 06, 2023 02:26 AM EST

Former Abercrombie & Fitch Co. CEO Michael Jeffries has taken legal action against the apparel retailer, filing a lawsuit in Delaware on Monday.

According to Bloomberg, Jeffries is demanding that Abercrombie cover the legal fees he anticipates incurring while defending himself against sexual assault allegations raised in a lawsuit in October.

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(Photo : Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: An Abercrombie & Fitch signage is seen on a store on Fifth Avenue on August 25, 2022 in New York City.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Contractual Obligation

In the lawsuit filed in Delaware's Chancery Court, Michael Jeffries asserted that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was neglecting its contractual obligation to cover any claims against him based on his role as an officer of the company from 1992 to 2014. 

The complaint noted that Abercrombie is required to pay the legal fees in connection with the proposed class action, which not only targets Jeffries personally but also implicates the business.

The original lawsuit, filed on October 27 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged that Jeffries, during his tenure as Abercrombie's CEO, "used his position to perpetuate a widespread sex-trafficking operation." 

The suit also claimed that young men aspiring to become Abercrombie models were exploited. 

The federal lawsuit asserted that Jeffries leveraged his position to "ensnare" over 100 male victims by offering inducements such as free clothes and gift cards, making false promises about modeling opportunities, and even having staff at alleged sex-trafficking events dressed in Abercrombie clothing.

However, it is important to note that these are still allegations and are yet to undergo further legal scrutiny. 

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Michael Jeffries' Legal Costs

Despite Abercrombie's contractual duty to cover Michael Jeffries' legal costs, the recent legal action noted that the company initially rejected Jeffries' plea for fee coverage and subsequently disregarded his renewed request. 

The lawsuit is requesting fast-track status to expedite the legal proceedings. Teams from Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP provide legal representation for Jeffries. 

As of the current status, Abercrombie has yet to appear in court in Delaware and is being represented in New York by Hogan Lovells US LLP, according to Bloomberg. 

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