Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Recent Conflicts & Screening Decisions


Another post cribbing from the eagle-eyed Bill Freivogel, who notes a few interesting cases:

LADT, LLC v. Greenberg Traurig, LLP, 2014 WL 6686776 (Cal. App. Nov. 25, 2014)
  • "Law Firm represented several parties in a transaction. At some point Law Firm wrote a letter to its clients mentioning possible conflicts of interest and eliciting a waiver from the clients. The letter also contained an agreement that any dispute regarding an alleged conflict of interest be subject to binding arbitration."
  • "Later the clients sued Law Firm for malpractice (this case). The complaint made no mention of a conflict of interest. However, during discovery the clients answered 'yes' to a question whether Law Firm had had a conflict of interest. Upon receiving that response, Law Firm moved to compel arbitration."
  • "The trial court denied the motion. In this opinion the appellate court affirmed holding that because the clients chose not to sue for a conflict of interest, the arbitration agreement did not apply to this case."
 Am. Tax Funding, LLC v. City of Schenectady, 2014 WL 6804297 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 2, 2014)
  • "Lawyer served as law clerk in this court. While a clerk, Lawyer attended a settlement conference in this case in the presence of the magistrate judge who wrote this opinion. Lawyer left the court and joined Law Firm. After that, one of the parties, because its lawyer retired, hired Law Firm to handle this case. Because of the presence of Lawyer at Law Firm, the other party moved to disqualify Law Firm."
  • "In this opinion the magistrate judge denied the motion. The court found that Law Firm erected a timely and effective screen pursuant to New York Rule 1.12. Of particular interest was the court’s discussion of New York cases considering whether smaller firms should be held to a different standard when evaluating the efficacy of screens. Here, the court held that Law Firm, which had twenty lawyers, did pass muster."

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