Risk Update

Conflicts Allegations — Epstein Accuser Calls Conflicts on Firm, City Counsel Caught in Referral Conflict

Epstein accuser suing JPMorgan seeks to disqualify bank’s law firm” —

  • “A Jeffrey Epstein accuser suing JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for allegedly aiding the late financier’s sex trafficking of girls and women asked a judge to disqualify the bank’s law firm on Thursday, arguing it has a conflict of interest.”
  • “Lawyers for the woman, who claims she was a victim of Epstein and is not named in court papers, said the judge should bar law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr from representing JPMorgan because it previously represented an anti-sex trafficking organization that supported a different Epstein accuser.”
  • “The accuser’s attorneys argued that WilmerHale had learned confidential information about the case of Courtney Wild, an alleged victim of Epstein who is also a potential member of the class suing JPMorgan, according to a court filing.”
  • “WilmerHale represented the anti-trafficking organization ECPAT-USA in a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to accept Wild’s appeal to invalidate a 2007 non-prosecution deal between Epstein and U.S. prosecutors. The court ultimately did not take the case.”
  • “A lead WilmerHale lawyer on JPMorgan’s defense team, Felicia Ellsworth, signed the Supreme Court brief. Wild’s attorneys also consulted with WilmerHale attorneys on legal strategy, Thursday’s filing said.”
  • “‘WilmerHale is obviously undertaking a representation in which JPMorgan’s interests are materially adverse to ECPAT’s (as well as Ms. Wild’s),’ the filing said.”

West Haven’s attorney suspended after awarding work to his own law firm” —

  • “West Haven’s corporation counsel has over the past three years funneled city work to his own private law firm, enabling him and his wife to represent the city in foreclosure cases and to bill up to $225 per hour for their services.”
  • “As West Haven’s top attorney, Lee Tiernan has the power to hire outside counsel to assist the city in legal matters. But public documents show he used that authority to assign work to his wife, Amanda Tiernan, through a private law practice that bears his name.”
  • “The arrangement is now drawing scrutiny. Moments after this story initially published Tuesday afternoon, West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi suspended Tiernan, for purportedly not filling out an ethics report properly.”
  • “‘A top official engaging in conflicts of interest for personal gain is exactly the type of bad, inherent culture the MARB has been harping on,’ said Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, referring to the state Municipal Accountability Review Board that has been overseeing the city’s finances for years. ‘But clearly their calls for change are not resonating. The only way this is going to change is a clean sweep.'”
  • “State court records indicate Tiernan appointed his wife to represent West Haven in at least 10 different court cases between 2020 and 2022 in which the city sought to foreclose on various properties for back taxes.”