Thursday, July 23, 2015

Risk News: Disqualifications Denied

Several interesting updates to share on the disqualification front. First up, more on the Skadden front: "Judge Declines to Boot Skadden, Despite Alleged Conflicts" --
  • "A federal judge in Santa Ana ruled on Tuesday that Skadden Arps should not be disqualified from defending a former medical device company executive on criminal insider trading charges, despite suggesting a lawyer in the case committed 'perjury.'"
  • "In an 11-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford stopped short of naming who was responsible for perjury, and concluded that regardless of the complex facts at issue, Skadden could remain in the case."
  • "'This Court has long been concerned about false statements under oath,' Guilford wrote, dropping a footnote to a law review article he authored on the subject, 'but here the right of a criminal defendant to pick his attorney requires denying the request to disqualify counsel... Despite the presence of complex conflicts issues that might serve as the basis to disqualify Skadden, none overcomes the strong right of a criminal defendant to pick his counsel.'"

Next: "Sidley Beats Patricia Cornwell's DQ Bid In Accountant Suit" --
  • "A Massachusetts federal judge on Thursday rejected best-selling author Patricia Cornwell’s argument that Sidley Austin LLP can’t represent an accounting firm she accuses of financial mismanagement because Sidley employs a former federal prosecutor who she says investigated her, and Cornwell announced she would seek immediate appeal."
  • "Cornwell had moved to disqualify Sidley from representing accounting firm Anchin Block & Anchin in a new trial ordered after U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. last year set aside a verdict of nearly $51 million a jury had awarded the author and her wife, Staci Gruber."
  • "Cornwell argued that Sidley partner and former Deputy Attorney General James Cole had represented Anchin Block while he was a partner at Bryan Cave LLP, and that he 'continued to press Anchin’s agenda against Cornwell' at the U.S. Department of Justice while his nomination was pending. On Thursday, however, Judge O’Toole disagreed and denied the motion, according to both Cornwell and Sidley."
And from the always quotable Bill Frievogel comes:
  • "Malibu Media, LLC v. Tashiro, 2015 WL 4203328 (S.D. Ind. July 10, 2015). Plaintiff sued two defendants for copyright infringement. Lawyer appeared for both defendants. The issue in this opinion is whether Lawyer should be sanctioned because he had a conflict of interest, thus causing delay and expenses for Plaintiff. The court held that, although it was possible that the defendants could have blamed one another for the infringement, there was no conflict here because the defendants took the consistent position that there was no infringement."

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