Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Conflicts Coming? Conflicts Going? Conflicts Undisclosed?

  • "A New York federal judge on Monday told Holland & Knight LLP that he was "extremely likely" to find that the firm had concurrently represented ethanol distributor Murex LLC and First NBC Bank, which is suing the energy company over alleged sham transactions."
  • "After quizzing attorneys from both sides for more than an hour, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer went off the record, "speaking candidly" about his "current thinking." He said he was leaning strongly toward finding that Holland & Knight was representing both Murex and FNBC while it prepared a lawsuit for the latter against the former, but he did not say outright that he intended to disqualify Holland & Knight in the upcoming trial."
  • "Murex began working with Holland & Knight after joining the Advanced Biofuels Association, of which Holland & Knight partner Michael J. McAdams is president. In 2016, McAdams passed on another Holland & Knight partner’s request that Murex waive any potential conflicts so the firm could represent First NBC Bank in “another unrelated lawsuit,” according to court papers."
  • "Despite Murex’s rejection of that request, Holland & Knight continued to represent FNBC and eventually sued Murex while still working for it, using confidential information against the distributor, Murex said."
  • "Judge Engelmayer said he was he was going to contemplate his decision for a week while Holland & Knight and FNBC decide whether to proceed together in this suit or make the decision moot by parting company.
  • "Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson told an Ohio federal court in an amended complaint Tuesday that the WilmerHale attorney who arbitrated his appeal of a 10-game performance-enhancing drug suspension failed to disclose that his firm was representing the NFL in another player disciplinary matter."
  • "In his original complaint, Johnson had alleged arbitrator James Carter, who denied his suspension appeal and denied his requests for information on the drug testing procedures used, was evidently partial because his law firm, WilmerHale, conducted an investigation for the NFL into the much-publicized domestic abuse scandal with former running back Ray Rice, which eventually "exonerated" the league."
  • "But according to his amended complaint, Carter, who is a senior counsel at WilmerHale, never disclosed his potential conflict to Johnson and that the NFLPA knew of the potential conflict but nonetheless allowed him to continue to serve as an arbitrator under both the performance-enhancing and drug abuse policies. He alleged Carter was, therefore, “affiliated” with the league and union, which should have disqualified him from serving as an arbitrator under the policy."
  • "The NFLPA has argued that none of its alleged conduct caused Carter to rule against Johnson, saying that he had admitted to taking banned substances during the proceedings. The union said, regardless, that Johnson 'has not come close' to alleging the facts necessary to show the union breached its duty of fair representation."

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