Thursday, June 24, 2010

California Supreme Court Upholds Ethical Screening (Kirk v. First American Title)

Interesting news for those following ethical screening developments in California the recent decision accepting ethical walls as a rebuttal of imputation. By a 6-1 vote, the California State Supreme Court just declined to review the Court of Appeal decision in Kirk v. The First American Title Insurance Company (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 776. (Hat tip to legalethicsforum.com for the PDF of the Court of Appeal's written decision).

While acknowledging inconsisten case law, the Court noted that a narrow view that disqualified a conflicted lawyer, but did not impute knowledge and disqualify the entire firm so long as an effective ethical wall was in place, was most prudent.The case was referred back to the trial court to determine if the ethical wall that the firm in question created was in fact effective.

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