Thursday, March 21, 2013

Law Firm Conflicts & Disqualification Attempts

Several recent conflicts stories of note:

"Steptoe & Johnson beats disqualification request made by Verizon" --
  • "The law firm Steptoe & Johnson won’t be disqualified from representing a group of former Verizon workers in class action lawsuits against the company... Verizon had argued that Rector’s previous representation of two plaintiffs and his intent to use evidence filed under seal during their lawsuits on subsequent lawsuits presented a conflict of interest."
  • "'At issue are the obligations imposed upon Steptoe by the agreed protective orders and confidential settlement agreements entered in the Rowh and Radcliff cases,' Davis wrote... 'However, Verizon has not demonstrated that Steptoe has violated either of these provisions, and the terms of these documents simply do not restrict Steptoe’s representation of subsequent clients in substantially related matters... Neither do they prohibit Steptoe, in the current litigation, from requesting the same information through discovery that Verizon disclosed in the prior cases or from obtaining a new protective order to protect this information once it has been disclosed within the confines of the case.'"
"Lawyer at Phoenix Sinclair inquiry found in conflict" --
  • "A Winnipeg law firm could be on the hook for costs associated with the latest delay in the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry. The inquiry was put back on hold Tuesday morning after commissioner Ted Hughes ruled on lawyer Kris Saxberg's conflict of interest."
  • "On Tuesday morning, Hughes blamed Saxberg and his law firm, D'Arcy Deacon, for not taking a good look at the client load to determine possible conflicts... Hughes said Saxberg created the conflict by taking so many retainers, and the inquiry will consider billing the law firm for costs arising from the conflict and its delays."
"Law firm is disqualified for impermissible concurrent conflict of interest" --
  • "Defendant moved to disqualify plaintiff’s lead counsel asserting, inter alia, that, at the time litigation was initiated, plaintiff’s counsel was serving as defendant’s opinion counsel. The motion was granted. The six-year history between defendant and plaintiff’s counsel wherein three opinion letters were prepared was sufficient to instill in defendant a reasonable belief that it would not be sued absent some sort of prior notice terminating the attorney-client relationship."

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