Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Risky Relationships (Or the Proximity to Hemp and Hailstorms Update)

Several interesting (and potentially curious) updates touching on changing relationships (and associated conflicts concerns). First: "Sen. Leach Takes Of Counsel Position At Philadelphia Firm" --
  • "A Pennsylvania state senator who has taken a leading role in medical marijuana legislation is planning to re-enter the private practice of law at a firm that has lobbied for medical cannabis legalization."
  • "Sacks Weston is a nine-attorney firm that focuses on class actions and qui tam cases, complex litigation, election law, medical marijuana and hemp law, personal injury and insurance subrogation."
  • "In terms of potential conflicts, [Managing Partner] Sacks said, those are largely avoided by Leach's status as an of counsel attorney instead of a partner. Additionally, he said, Leach would not be assigned to an issue that he would later vote on as a senator."
  • "'If there's ever a conflict between potential work of the firm and my obligations as a state legislator, the legislator part comes first,' Leach said. 'I don't see any inherent conflicts right now.'"
(I confess to raising an eyebrow.) Next, the promised hailstorm, via Bill Freivogel: In re Nat’l Lloyds Ins. Co., 2016 WL 552112 (Tex. App. Feb. 10, 2016) --
  • "Law Firm 1 represents InsCo in hail storm litigation. Lawyer formerly worked at Law Firm 1 during that litigation. Lawyer had nothing to do with hail storm litigation while at Firm 1 and learned nothing about InsCo or that litigation. Lawyer left Firm 1 and joined Law Firm 2, which represented claimants against InsCo in hail storm litigation. Firm 2 put Lawyer to work on those cases. InsCo moved to disqualify Lawyer and Law Firm 2 in this hail storm case. The trial court denied the motion. In this opinion the appellate court affirmed (denied mandamus)."
And, also via Bill, a screen that just didn't feel right to someone: Ontario v. Chartis Ins. Co. of Can., 2016 ONSC 43 (CanLII) (Ont. Super. Ct., Div. Ct. Feb. 11, 2016) --
  • "Lawyer, while at Law Firm 1, spent considerable time on this case on behalf of Ontario. Lawyer moved to Law Firm 2, which represents InsCo. against Ontario. Law Firm 2 erected a screen, and Lawyer was not assigned this case. Lawyer is spending about half his time working with lawyers who are working on this case. Ontario moved to disqualify Law Firm 2. The Motion Judge denied the motion. In this opinion the Divisional Court granted the appeal. On the facts, the court was of the view that, notwithstanding a screen, Lawyer’s proximity to those working on this case was 'too close for comfort.'"

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