Risk Update

Client Files, Confidential Information, Protective Orders & Conflicts (Part 1)

Some interesting stories to share touching themes of client files, confidential information, and information risk management:

Ex-Attys Seek To DQ New Counsel Handling $350M Shire Deal” —

  • “The former lawyers of a whistleblower who helped reach a $350 million settlement with biotech company Shire over its marketing of a skin product asked a Florida federal court Monday to disqualify two attorneys and their firm for allegedly using stolen confidential emails to cut the former counsel out of a fee award.”
  • “In his motion, Darken said Vinca’s current counsel have improperly used confidential emails from Barry A. Cohen PA, who also previously represented Vinca in the whistleblower suit, to challenge the charging lien filed by Darken, Cohen and Saady & Saxe PA for a cut of the attorney fees.”
  • “McDonell and Hill have argued that the former counsels’ fee should be reduced because they ‘committed malpractice and malfeasance’ by employing Domenic Massari, a disbarred attorney, as a law clerk in the underlying litigation with Shire.”
    “Vinca claims his former counsel’s failures forced him to share the whistleblower award of the Shire settlement with the five other relators who filed FCA suits after his.”
  • “Generally, the first whistleblower to file gets about 20 percent of the government’s recovery and any subsequent whistleblowers do not receive a cut, but in this case, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. decided to divvy up the proceeds, in part because of deficiencies in the initial eight-page complaint from Vinca and Sweeney, according to McDonell.”

Cotchett Pitre Lawyers Deride Apple’s Sanctions Request as ‘Manufactured Controversy‘” —

  • “Apple Inc. has sought sanctions against principals Joseph Cotchett and Mark Molumphy for what it claims was their ‘blatant and very serious violation’ of a protective order in lawsuits coordinated before U.S. District Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California. Apple proposed removing both lawyers from their appointed posts as co-lead plaintiffs counsel and barring them from viewing confidential documents in the case.”
  • “The lawsuits alleged that Apple purposely slowed the speeds of certain iPhones, but Apple has countered that doing so was necessary to prevent the devices from having unexpected shutdowns.”
  • “In their sanctions motion, Apple’s lawyers, Theodore Boutrous and Christopher Chorba, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, accused the Cotchett Pitre lawyers of disclosing ‘highly confidential’ documents, filed as sealed exhibits to their opposition to dismiss, in open court at a March 7 hearing over its renewed motion to dismiss the lawsuits. The documents involved internal discussions among Apple employees about how to respond to issues relating to the problems with iPhone batteries.”
  • “Cotchett and Molumphy denied they violated the protective order. In an attached declaration, Cotchett insisted that he told Chorba at the start of the hearing that he planned to read from portions of the sealed exhibits. Chorba did not object but, at the end of the hearing, requested sealing the transcript of the hearing.”