Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Conflicts Waiver & Law Firm Disqualification News

Via BNA comes a story about another interesting disqualification: "Dormant Role as Patent Counsel Gets Firm Disqualified in Infringement Action" --
  • "A law firm is disqualified from representing a plaintiff in a patent infringement action against a company because the firm did not clearly end its quiescent role as the company's patent opinion counsel before filing suit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware held March 4 (Parallel Iron LLC v. Adobe Systems Inc., D. Del., No. 12-874-RGA, 3/4/13)."
  • "Adobe moved to disqualify Russ August & Kabat, Parallel Iron's lead counsel, on the ground that the firm faced a concurrent conflict of interest because it was serving as Adobe's opinion counsel at the time Parallel Iron filed suit. RAK never represented Adobe in litigation; rather; the firm's alleged conflict was grounded in three engagements in which RAK partner Marc A. Fenster prepared opinion letters for Adobe."
  • "RAK contended that each opinion letter was a discrete engagement with an agreed-upon budget, and that its relationship with Adobe ended with the final conference call. Fenster said that when he delivered the final opinion letters to Adobe, he asked if any additional work was needed or requested, and Adobe said no."
  • "The history between the firm and the company made it reasonable for the company to expect that their attorney-client relationship was ongoing even though no active matters were underway, Judge Richard G. Andrews reasoned."
And from the prolific Bill Freivogel comes another two cases regarding waivers:

In re Stagliano, 2013 N.J. LEXIS 194 (N.J. March 13, 2013) --
  • "In this order the court reprimanded Lawyer for violating New Jersey's version of MR 1.7. This is the only state ethics rule, of which we are aware, that specifically prohibits a governmental unit from waiving a current client conflict. Lawyer represented a municipality while at the same time assisting persons with whom he was affiliated in acquiring tax delinquent properties. This was all done with the knowledge of municipality officials. The facts are in the decision of the N.J. Disciplinary Review Board, Docket No. DRB 12-226, decided December 20, 2012."
Sharma v. VW Credit, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38859 (C.D. Cal. March 20, 2013) --
  • "The defendant waited sixteen months to file a motion to disqualify. In this opinion the court denied the motion. The court was not persuaded by the fact that the defendant had been making noises about the conflict for a year. The court did find that the plaintiff was prejudiced by the delay because deadlines were running."

No comments:

Post a Comment