Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Conflicts Continued: When Conflicts (Alleged or Tentative) Carry Costs

"Vikings Co-owners Seek Reversal of $103M Judgment" --
  • "In New Jersey state court litigation that’s spanned three decades, the Wilf family, co-owners of pro football’s Minnesota Vikings, is making its case to upend a $103 million judgment against it last year for allegedly cutting off its business partners from the proceeds of a real estate deal."
  • "In August 2013, after the lengthy trial, Morris County Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson found that the Wilfs committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and violated New Jersey’s anti-racketeering law, by shutting Reichmann out of the partnership, and also took more than $16 million out of the venture without disclosing the withdrawals to Reichmann and Halpern."
  • "The Wilfs argue in their brief that Wilson wrongly allowed new claims into the case, failed to recuse despite a conflict and made numerous other errors, while the plaintiffs have cross-appealed Wilson’s reduction of the punitive damages and attorney fees, and her limitation of the scope of the racketeering claims."
  • "The Wilfs further allege that Wilson should never have heard the case in the first place because of an unwaivable conflict of interest: During trial, Wilson’s husband, attorney Laurence Orloff, was involved in an unrelated matter as counsel for Lowenstein Sandler, the firm representing Jarwick and Reichmann."
  • "'Judge Wilson’s disclosure to the parties of this obvious conflict of interest does not cure it,” they said in their brief. 'A financial connection between the trial judge and a party or law firm appearing before that judge is an unwaivable conflict.'"
And more on the Squire Patton Boggs matter: "Judge: Patton Boggs Rep'd Opponent in 'Substantially Related' Matter"--
  • "A federal judge overseeing a battle between the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup industries has issued tentative findings on whether to disqualify Squire Patton Boggs due to conflicts that arose from its merger this year."
  • "At a Tuesday hearing, U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall of the Central District of California found that Patton Boggs, which merged with Squire Sanders on June 1, had represented an opponent in the case in matters 'substantially related to the current lawsuit.'"
  • "She also found that Patton Boggs had not obtained the consent of one of its clients, another opponent in the case, to waive potential conflicts arising from its June 1 merger with Squire Sanders."
  • "The tentative decisions bode poorly for Squire Patton Boggs, which has made $12 million in fees so far from the case. Marshall said she would issue a final decision in a written ruling."

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