Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Risk Updates (Controversy Edition #2): Side Switching, Side Sharing + Million Dollar Conflict?




"This Law Firm Is Both Representing Dakota Access Owner and Suing Its Security Firm" --
  • "Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and others for alleged racketeering in their anti-pipeline activism related to Standing Rock. The company’s legal support comes from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, whose attorneys also represent President Donald Trump in the ongoing Russia-U.S. election investigation."
  • "However, federal court rules require that, in addition to the New York-based team at Kasowitz, Energy Transfer Partners must retain local legal counsel in North Dakota, where the lawsuit was filed. The bottom of the 187-page legal complaint filed on August 22 reveals that the corporation chose Vogel Law Firm, with offices in both Minnesota and North Dakota, for that job."
  • "However, by serving as a law firm for Energy Transfer Partners, Vogel may have a potential conflict of interest. That's because, at the same time, the firm is representing the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board in its ongoing lawsuit against TigerSwan. This private security firm worked on behalf of Dakota Access during the months-long protest movement at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota."
  • "Rogneby, Stock, and Hagel did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, which inquired whether the firm ran a conflicts-of-interest check before taking on the racketeering case. These types of checks, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), should be a matter of routine for law firms to ensure the interests of one client do not compete and conflict with those of another."
"Loeb & Loeb Beats 'Classic Hot Potato' DQ Bid" --
  • "Loeb & Loeb LLP didn’t drop former client Howard Hughes Corp. like a “hot potato,” according to a ruling Thursday by a California federal judge who found the firm’s work for the property developer ended a year before Loeb took on another client that sued HHC. Loeb is representing Regal Cinemas Inc. in a breach of contract and intentional misrepresentation suit accusing HHC of a 'bait and switch' over two movie theater leases, court papers show."
  • "HHC pointed to two hours Loeb clocked for the property development company in June 2016 as evidence the matter in which Loeb was representing HHC wasn’t yet finished, but Judge England concluded the two hours — the only time between 2015 and present day that Loeb did anything for HHC — hardly amounted to current representation, according to the decision."
"Houston Law Firm Sued for $1M in Case Alleging Conflict of Interest" --
  • "A Houston marketing company sued Houston's Christian Smith & Jewell and former partner Stephen Cagle Jr., seeking more than $1 million in damages and alleging the defendants failed to notify it of a conflict of interest when representing it in a business dispute."
  • "Plaintiff Signet Interactive alleges the defendants should have acknowledged that it was a conflict to defend the company and also defend majority shareholder Christopher Mulgrew from allegations in an underlying suit filed by Joy Yoga. Signet Interactive alleged the defendants aided and assisted Mulgrew in using corporate money and assets to fund a settlement with Joy Yoga in that suit."
"TransUnion Can't DQ Side-Switching FCRA Atty, 7th Circ. Says" --
  • "A split Seventh Circuit ruled Tuesday that an Indiana lawyer who for years defended credit bureau TransUnion LLC against credit-reporting suits can now represent a consumer fighting the bureau, finding that there's no friction with a key Indiana rule of professional conduct."
  • "But Watkins' case immediately hit a snag because of who he hired to fight TransUnion: John Cento, who from 2003 to 2005 was a point person for TransUnion on the defense of FCRA cases, handling hundreds of them and gaining rare insight into the company's views on the merits and methods of such cases. TransUnion asked a judge for an order requiring Cento to show cause as to why he shouldn't be disqualified and pointed to two other cases in which judges had disqualified Cento. But the judge in Watkins' case refused, though he allowed TransUnion to immediately appeal that refusal to the Seventh Circuit."
  • "On Tuesday, the appeals court found that Cento could stay on the case. The two other courts that had disqualified Cento wrongly relied on an outdated common-law standard, Canons 4 and 9 of the ABA’s Model Code of Professional Responsibility, rather than Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 1.9 and its attendant exegesis, the appeals court said. That commentary explaining the prohibition on representing the opposite side in a “substantially related” matter also shows that Cento is on the right side of the ethics rule, the Seventh Circuit said."
  • "'Cento’s prior representations of TransUnion and his present representation of Watkins both involve FCRA violations but do not turn on the same facts of one 'particular situation or transaction,'' the circuit said, referencing Rule 1.9's commentary section."

No comments:

Post a Comment