Sunday, January 10, 2016

Changing Argument Changes Conflicts Considerations (or ‘There and Back Again, a Risk Tale”)



Happy new year to our roster of regular readers. With a brief break in coverage through the end of 2015, we find several interesting developments making news, which brings to mind the paraphrased wisdom of Ferris Bueller -- Risk moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it. Let's start with this story:

Three weeks ago: "BakerHostetler Tossed From $230M Russian Tax Fraud Suit" --
  • "A New York federal judge on Friday disqualified BakerHostetler and a partner from representing defendants in a civil suit over an alleged $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme after Hermitage Capital successfully argued the firm has now strategically chosen to blame the company for the fraud."
  • "U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa had denied a previous bid by Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. to boot BakerHostetler and its partner John Moscow from the case over Moscow’s previous representation of Hermitage's co-founder William Browder, but the judge said it became “clear” during oral arguments on Friday that the firm has decided to pin 'substantial responsibility' on Hermitage for the alleged fraud."
  • Said the judge: “BakerHostetler's change in defense strategy now makes the subjects of its former and current representation ‘substantially related.' There is now a very real possibility that BakerHostetler will be in a position where it would be trying to show that its current clients (the Prevezon defendants) are not liable and showing this by attacking its former client (Hermitage) on the very subject of BakerHostetler's representation of that former client.”
However, just a week ago that bell was unrung: "Judge Rethinks Removing Baker Hostetler From Case" --
  • "Southern District Judge Thomas Griesa on Monday withdrew his opinion disqualifying Baker & Hostetler and partner John Moscow from defending real estate companies accused of laundering the proceeds of a Russian fraud scheme."
  • "But at Dec. 28 hearing, Griesa said he had reconsidered. He said he initially believed he had enough information to make the disqualification decision, but now thought it fair to have the parties brief the issue further."

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