Thursday, April 12, 2012

Law Firm Conflicts and Screening Updates

Screening saves another firm -- Hat tip to conflicts champion Bill Frievogel for detail on: Alere Inc. v. Church & Dwight Co., Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45475 (D. Mass. March 31, 2012). He writes:
  • "In this patent infringement case the defendant moved to disqualify a law firm for the plaintiffs because that law firm had brought in two lawyers who had previously done work for the defendant. In this opinion the court denied the motion because under Massachusetts' unique screening rule neither lawyer had 'substantial involvement' in the earlier matter nor had 'substantial information," and they were screened from this matter.'"
One-Click Disqualification? -- The Recorder notes: "Former Weil Patent Litigator May Have Conflict in First Suit at New Firm."
  • "Matthew Powers and his Tensegrity Law Group filed suit this week against Amazon, a company he represented before leaving Weil last year... just before leaving Weil in June, Powers and several lawyers there were defending Amazon, along with eBay Inc. and Yahoo Inc., in a closely watched patent infringement suit filed by Eolas Technologies Inc. in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Eolas was suing over patents involving online video, image rotation and search auto-complete. In July, Weil successfully moved to withdraw Powers from the case."
  • "Lawyers are allowed to stand adverse to former clients, as long as the matters are not substantially related, said Santa Clara University School of Law professor David Yosifon. The case may not involve the same patents, but if Amazon's lawyers can show that Powers had a substantial relationship with key players or decision makers at Amazon and learned confidential information that he could use against the company in court, he might not be on the case for long."

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