Risk Update

Conflicts Accusations — MoFo ‘Skullduggery’ Suggested & A Confidential Conflict

MoFo Accused of ‘Skullduggery’ in Divorce of Google Search Engine Programmer” —

  • “The wife of Scott Hassan, robotics entrepreneur and principal programmer of the Google search engine, is suing Morrison & Foerster for being a ‘willing architect and facilitator’ of Hassan’s scheme to ‘cheat’ her out of millions of dollars after she filed for divorce in 2015.”
  • “In a suit filed Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Allison Huynh alleges that Morrison & Foerster violated its ethical and fiduciary duties when the firm picked sides after representing the couple individually in separate business matters.”
  • “The complaint alleges that Paul ‘Chip’ Lion, a Palo Alto MoFo partner, and the firm continued to represent Hassan and some of the couple’s jointly owned businesses even after a family court judge disqualified them from advising him on the dissolution of their marriage.”
  • “Huynh says the firm ‘orchestrated a fire-sale’ of the assets of robotics company Suitable Technologies, which she has a half interest in, according to the complaint. She alleges the deal was an effort to score a personal tax benefit of more than $90 million for Hassan.”
  • “‘We deny all the allegations made by the Plaintiff against the Firm and its representatives and we will address them in the proper forum,’ a firm spokesperson said via email.”

Conflict arises in synagogue shooting defense” —

  • “More than a year into the prosecution of the man accused of firing on a Poway synagogue — killing one person and injuring three others — a conflict of interest has arisen on his defense team.”
  • “Attorneys Kathryn Nester, who is executive director of the federal public defender office, and Kimberly Trimble conferred with three experts, all of whom have vast experience in trying death-penalty cases, and all came to the conclusion that this was not a conflict that can be waived by Earnest, they said in a court filing. They declined to give more details on the conflict.”
  • “‘The nature of the conflict is protected by attorney-client privilege,’ they wrote.”
  • “Attorney and judge conflicts of interest are carefully vetted at the beginning of each case. For one to arise this late is unusual.”