Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Risk News & Updates: Conflicts, Disqualifications and Electronic Discovery

1. The disqualification Bratz counsel due to a lateral-conflict has been upheld by the 9th Circuit [previously coverage]:
  • "The judge found that the Los Angeles-based firm, which stepped into the case in November, had a potential conflict representing MGA because it had just hired a former associate from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Mattel's lead counsel."
  • Additional background on this ongoing doll-fight: "The disqualification was the latest legal headache for MGA, which has replaced its lawyers numerous times during the copyright dispute. The trial will be the second go-round for the two companies over whether Mattel owns the work and ideas of a former employee who designed the Bratz dolls."
2. Following a post last week highlight discussion of the suitability of advanced conflicts waivers in the Boston Bar Journal, comes the results of a study of Massachusetts Bar Admonitions. A law firm reviewed all 57 admonitions from 2008-2010 and called out trends.

3. The Wall Street Journal reports on a study (conducted by King & Spalding and published in the Duke Law Journal) showing lawyer sanctions tied to e-discovery problems are on the rise:
  • "Sanction motions and sanction awards for e-discovery violations have been trending ever-upward for the last 10 years and have now reached historic highs. "
  • "One interesting finding from the study: lawyers were rarely sanctioned without their clients also getting sanctioned. Judges, it seems, often find fault in both clients and lawyers: clients for failing to turn over the goods, and lawyers for failing to provide proper oversight of the discovery process, which can, admittedly, be a huge burden to a corporate defendant."

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