Risk Update

Conflicts Allegations & News — More Mar-a-Lago Allegations, Adjudicator Conflicts Concerns, Conflict & Client-drive Billing Clash

Quinn Emanuel sues Los Angeles over legal tab for embattled ex-sheriff” —

  • “Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has sued Los Angeles to recoup more than $280,000 in fees for its work defending a top law enforcement official, marking a new flashpoint in a long-running fight stemming from an employment scandal at the county sheriff’s office.”
  • “California-based Quinn Emanuel filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 10, seeking compensation for the legal fees it incurred in its 2019 representation of then Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.”
  • “The county sued Villanueva in 2019 over his reinstatement of a deputy sheriff who had been fired over domestic violence allegations. An appeals court said last year that the rehiring was unauthorized.”
  • “Quinn Emanuel contends Villanueva was authorized to hire the firm as outside counsel because of a conflict of interest between the sheriff’s office and the Los Angeles county board.”
  • “The firm’s new lawsuit follows its defeat in a previous fight with the county over Villanueva’s legal fees. In that 2021 case, Los Angeles sued Quinn Emanuel, alleging that the firm did not have a valid and enforceable engagement agreement because the county did not approve its contract with the sheriff.”
  • “Los Angeles County Judge Holly Fujie granted summary judgment to Los Angeles in May. She also said Quinn Emanuel could not file a ‘cross complaint’ as part of that litigation. Quinn Emanuel last month filed an appeal.”

Ontario lawyers’ auto insurance tribunal allegations – ‘at least’ three insurers hired adjudicators” —

  • “In the aftermath of allegations around ‘conflicts of ‘ risk relating to a Tribunals Ontario LAT adjudicator who made decisions in favour of Aviva prior to joining the insurer, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) has set out three more instances of LAT adjudicators moving to insurance companies that it claims warrant investigation, though it has not alleged any definite bias risk.”
  • “This August, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) called for an immediate investigation after an adjudicator, who had received an offer of employment from Aviva, went on to render at least nine decisions for the LAT before starting work with the insurer. OTLA has set out that all decisions went in favour of insurers, including Aviva – though this has been disputed by the ex-adjudicator in question, who has said that one went in partial favour of a claimant and that most decisions typically do go in insurers’ favor.”
  • “OTLA has claimed to have unearthed three other cases of LAT adjudicators moving to insurers, named as Aviva, Definity Insurance, and Intact Financial Corporation, and it has called for further investigation into these people moves. However, in an interview with Insurance Business, OTLA president Laurie Tucker stopped short of levelling accusations of definite bias risk. Rather, she claimed that further information on the people moves was needed to assuage any potential conflicts of interest concerns.”
  • “‘At least three other adjudicators we know of have left the LAT and gone to work for these insurance companies,’ Tucker said. “‘We don’t know the details of when they applied [for roles], when they accepted employment with those companies, when they left the LAT, and whether they were rendering decisions during that period. We’ve asked the LAT for information, and we are continuing to look into this matter.'”
  • “Reilly has contended that she was unaware of any potential conflict of interest concerns from the insurer prior to her June 2023 split from the business. The ex-adjudicator has called on both the LAT and Aviva to bring in more comprehensive policies and people moves procedures to prevent any potential ‘appearance of bias.'”
  • “She has denied any bias in decision making in the interim period between a conditional offer of employment being received from Aviva in June 2022 and her move to the company later that year and set out in a statement that she operated ‘based on the facts, evidence, and law as presented.'”

Mar-a-Lago worker’s lawyer has conflicts of interest in documents case, prosecutors say” —

  • “Special counsel prosecutors asked on Wednesday for a hearing to inform the Mar-a-Lago club’s maintenance chief, charged with helping Donald Trump to obstruct the government’s attempt to retrieve the classified documents at the property, that his lawyer might be hamstrung at trial due to potential conflicts of interest.”
  • “The issue, according to prosecutors, is that De Oliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, represents three other witnesses who provided incriminating evidence against Carlos De Oliveira and could be called to testify against him at trial.”
  • “In an 11-page court filing, the prosecutors explained the potential conflicts could mean Irving might not be able to defend De Oliveira as forcefully as he would have otherwise because he needed to protect the interests of those other clients, described as ‘Witness 1,’ ‘Witness 2’ and ‘Trump employee 3.'”
  • “‘An attorney who cross-examines a client inherently encounters divided loyalties,’ prosecutors in the office of the special counsel Jack Smith wrote. ‘A hearing would permit colloquy with Mr Irving’s clients to inform them of potential risks and inquire into possible waivers.'”
  • “Wednesday’s request to the US district court judge Aileen Cannon is the second for a conflict-of-interest hearing in the classified documents case after prosecutors revealed last month that Nauta’s lawyer Stanley Woodward also had three potential conflicts of interest.”
  • “De Oliveira told prosecutors in April that the reason he was on tape taking photos of the surveillance cameras in the tunnel outside the storage room was because he was looking for a shutoff valve after a a water pipe rupture and also wanted to document a broken door below one of the cameras.”