Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Malpractice Drama Continues (Act IV)

Longtime readers may remember the roots of this story, see: "What a Piece of Work is Risk" for more history of this star-crossed tale involving allegations of simultaneous representation of adverse parties in an active lawsuit, e-discovery malpractice, and confidentiality breaches.

Now, a year later, come new developments in the same performance, reported by ACEDS: "Ex-McDermott client sues disqualified Sheppard over fees logged after conflict exposed." 
  • "Some might call it the height of chutzpah: A law firm disqualified by a US district judge for representing a party adverse to its client sues the client for fees billed after its conflict of interest was exposed."
  • "Sheppard objected to the motion to be relieved of its representation of J-M, but US district Judge George Wu, after hearing from the objecting plaintiff and the law firm at a hearing, disqualified the firm in July 2011 from representing J-M."
  • "During the 17 months that it represented J-M, Sheppard billed the company roughly $3.9 million in fees, although it took no depositions in the case that was set for trial in December 2011 and involved multi-million-dollar claims of approximately three dozen plaintiffs."
  • "J-M stresses prior knowledge of conflict by Sheppard. On June 21, Sheppard sued J-M in California Superior Court in Los Angeles for $1.19 million in fees that it says are due for services rendered in the False Claims Act case after its conflicted representation was exposed by the relator’s disqualification motion.
  • "J-M has filed a cross-complaint in the same court against its former lawyers for willfully concealing a long-running relationship with one of its adversaries."
See the full article for more intricate details and fascinating commentary.

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