Thursday, February 7, 2013

Playbook Knowledge and Law Firm Disqualification

Last year we highlighted an interesting debate on the extent to which “Playbook” knowledge can and should influence disqualification decisions.

We’re nothing if not consistently grateful for the good work Bill Frievogel does keeping on top of case law relevant to our community. Here are some interesting developments of note on this topic:

SHFL Entm't, Inc. v. Digideal Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6635 (D. Nev. Jan. 16, 2013).
  • "Plaintiff is suing Defendant for infringing Plaintiff's patent on a playing-card shuffling machine. Lawyer worked in-house at Plaintiff for two years, leaving in 2007. Lawyer is now counsel of record for Defendant. Plaintiff moved to disqualify Lawyer and his firm. In this opinion the magistrate judge granted the motion. The opinion is very fact-specific on the substantial relationship test… The court also gave substantial weight to the playbook nature of what Lawyer learned while at Plaintiff."
Childress v. Trans Union, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182585 (S.D. Ind. Dec. 28, 2012).
  • "Class action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). Lawyer represents the class representative. From 2001 to 2005 Lawyer worked for two different law firms and worked on 250 of defendant's FCRA cases, billing some 4,000 hours. The defendant moved to disqualify Lawyer in this case."
  • "In this opinion the magistrate judge granted the motion. The judge compared the work done on those earlier cases with the work required in this case and, essentially applying the playbook test, found just too much overlap."

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