Risk Update

Audio, Visual & IP Conflicts News — Dual Representation in Netflix IP Matter Meets Clear Conflicts, Music Executive Calls “Conflict”

Whitestone Law Disqualified from Dual Representation in Netflix Patent Infringement Battle” —

  • “In an unfolding patent infringement dispute against Netflix, California federal judge has ruled that Whitestone Law is unable to simultaneously represent both the plaintiff, a Finnish inventor, and the nonparty that footed part of the inventor’s legal bills. The decision was made on the basis that interests of the two parties have diverged following certain allegations made by Netflix against them both.”
  • “This ruling was a result of the determination that the potentially conflicting interests between the inventor and the financial backer could not be justifiably represented by a single law firm. While the precise nature of Netflix’s accusations remains undisclosed, the ruling underscores the crucial role of legal ethics in managing client representation particularly in patent infringement cases.”


  • “Whitestone Law has represented Valjakka in this matter at various times, including by defending his deposition on October 12, 2023.”
  • “It has also represented AiPi… Recently, however, as Whitestone Law attorney Joseph Zito conceded at the hearing on this motion, Netflix has made allegations concerning AiPi that render AiPi adverse to Valjakka. Specifically, Netflix accuses both AiPi and Valjakka of transferring and using litigation settlement proceeds in a manner that violated the California Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (“CUVTA”) and this Court’s September 21, 2023 injunction.”
  • “Thus, both Valjakka and AiPi ‘have been accused of things by Netflix,’ where they ‘acted together . . . to some extent and not together in other extents,’ and consequently, both Valjakka and AiPi “will have an incentive to point the finger at each other.”
  • “The facts before the Court demonstrate a significant violation of the duty of loyalty by Whitestone Law. Going forward, vigorously representing either AiPi or Valjakka will require attempting to damage the other one’s interests, both as to the responsibility for any CUVTA violation and as to any claim Valjakka might make concerning alleged misrepresentations by AiPi. That is a direct conflict of interest.”
  • “Accordingly, Whitestone Law cannot represent both Valjakka and AiPi without violating the duty of loyalty.”

Music executive sues industry lawyer Joel Katz, Greenberg Traurig firm” —

  • “A music executive has filed a legal malpractice lawsuit, opens new tab against U.S. law firm Greenberg Traurig and Joel Katz, a former shareholder at the firm and longtime recording industry adviser, accusing them of botching contract negotiations for a job with Warner Music Group.”
  • “Michael Flynn, a former music executive for Sony Music’s Epic Records and Universal Music’s Capitol Records, said Katz and current Greenberg Traurig shareholder Duane Sitar ‘actively used their positions of trust to benefit Warner, themselves, and others’ while he was their client.”
  • “The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Court, said Katz and Sitar helped Warner ‘devise a pretext for breaking its promise of employment’ to Flynn.”
  • “Warner was trying to avoid legal action from a competitor, which stood to lose one of its key executives who wanted to join Warner and work with Flynn, the lawsuit said.”
  • “A spokesperson for Greenberg Traurig and Sitar said Flynn’s lawsuit is ‘an old, previously dismissed claim which we consider meritless and will be contesting.'”