Thursday, June 12, 2014

Conflicts in its Pocketses, Precious?

"Warner Bros Wants Bert Fields’ Law Firm Tossed From ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Case" --
  • "The $80 million legal battle between Warner Bros and the Saul Zaentz Company and the estate of The Lord Of The Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien over copyright and digital merchandising just took another turn – this time against some of the lawyers. The studio and its partner in this case this week filed a motion to have Fourth Age’s lawyers Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP disqualified from the case."
  • "'Warner and Zaentz bring this motion to disqualify Greenberg as counsel of record for the Tolkien/HC Parties in this litigation and for other relief, because the firm impermissibly gained access to privileged information in violation of Rules of Professional Conduct,' said the motion filed yesterday in federal court."
  • "The other side says this is all a smokescreen. 'There is absolutely no basis for the motion filed by WB and Zaentz yesterday,” said Greenberg attorney Bonnie Eskenazi today. ”Greenberg Glusker acted properly in all respects at all times.  The motion was filed for purely and transparently tactical and strategic reasons. We look forward to the Court vindicating our position.'"
  • "To the point of the disqualification motion, the 33-page filing says that Fourth Age’s law firm hired former United Artists in-house attorneys Alan Benjamin and William Bernstein as experts and potential witness for $10,000. The duo represented UA in negotiations concerning the matter."
  • "'Greenberg thereby placed itself in the position of representing not only the key witnesses on both—and opposite—sides of the contracts at issue, but also its adversaries’ former counsel who worked on the very contracts at issue,' it adds. 'In doing so, Greenberg invaded the attorney-client privilege now held by MGM, which controls UA, positioning UA’s former lawyers to be adverse to the interests of MGM and UA’s successors-in-interest, Warner and Zaentz.'"
Of course, the key question is whether this matter will be settled quickly, or whether it will be drawn out over several cycles comprising multiple, three hour hearings, complete with heavy use of exhibits (in the form of musical renditions and battle reenactments). On that note, an anonymous editor submitted the following commentary, dedicated to fellow enthusiasts:

Three risks for the cloud services under the sky,
Seven for the internationals joined in vereins,
Nine for the clients and their strict guidelines,
One for the dark lord on his dark throne
In the land of legal, where great change does brew
New risks to rule them, new risks to find them,
New risks to bring them all and in the model rules
bind them

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