Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bzzzzt: Disqualification (Discussions, Determinations, Decisions)




Several stories to share on the theme of disqualifications. First up:"Latham Dodges DQ Bid In Zurich Lead Coverage Suit" --
  • "A Missouri federal judge on Tuesday denied Zurich American Insurance’s attempt to disqualify Latham & Watkins LLP from representing Fluor Corp. in a coverage dispute arising from lead smelting operations, saying there is no evidence the firm violated a protective order in a related state case."
  • "'The court suggests, in the future, counsel for the parties focus on the substantive issues in this case,' the order reads. 'The court has, for some time, formed an impression the acrimony among counsel is costing their clients unnecessary expense and clearly delaying disposition of this case.'"
  • "Zurich’s attorneys at Brown & James PC and Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Darling & Mah filed a motion for disqualification in August, alleging that Fluor lifted protected discovery materials from its related state case against policyholder Doe Run Resources in order to fuel a counterclaim in the federal case between Zurich and Fluor."
Bill Freivogel notes: Konjevic v. Uber Techs. Inc., 2016 ONSC 5832 (CanLII) (Super. Ct. Ont. Sept. 30, 2016).
  • "Toronto sued Uber in 2015 for an injunction (“Other Case”). Represented by Firm 1, Uber won the Other Case. Lawyer was at Firm 1 and had a tangential role in the Other Case. This case is a class action by cab drivers against Uber. Firm 2 is class counsel. Lawyer has joined Firm 2."
  • "Lawyer was told on day one that he would have no role in the Uber case. Thirty days after Lawyer joined Firm 2, Uber claimed Firm 2 had a conflict. Upon receiving that objection, Firm 2 erected a formal screen. Uber moved to disqualify Firm 2."
  • "In this opinion the court denied the motion. All issues involved fact-intensive analyses. First, the court held that Lawyer’s role for Uber at Firm 1 was too insignificant to be concerning. Second, the court held that during the thirty days after being hired Lawyer was alone in Firm 2’s new Toronto office, and his only role in this case was commissioning two affidavits. Thus, on balance, the court held that no harm to Uber occurred, or was likely to occur, with Lawyer’s being at Firm 2."
Finally: "Locke Lord Wants to Weigh In On Swiss Knife DQ Appeal" --
  • "Locke Lord LLP on Monday asked the Second Circuit to allow it to intervene in a Texas knife maker's appeal of a trademark lawsuit brought by Victorinox AG after a New York federal judge decided not to disqualify the firm from representing the Switzerland-based company, despite a possible breach of ethics rules."
  • "Locke Lord said it will be better able to address the alleged conflicts cited by knife maker The B&F System Inc. stemming from the firm's merger with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP if it acts separately from Victorinox, the Swiss Army knife maker that sued B&F over the use of its famous red handle design."
  • "B&F appealed to the Second Circuit and in February asked that the court disqualify Locke Lord. B&F said that Locke Lord violated its ethical obligations by briefly representing both Victorinox and B&F after Locke Lord merged with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP in January 2015."

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