Risk Update

Conflicts Allegations — Twitter/X Data Law Firm Conflict Called, Arbitrator Accused

Musk’s X Corp faces bid to disqualify law firm in data-scraping case” —

  • “An Israeli data-scraping company sued by Elon Musk’s X Corp is taking aim at the social media company’s legal team, telling a judge in San Francisco that X’s law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan switched allegiances and must be thrown off the case.”
  • “Lawyers at Quinn Emanuel entered the case last week, seeking to file an amended lawsuit accusing Bright Data Ltd of illegally copying data from X, formerly known as Twitter. X’s initial complaint, filed by another firm, was dismissed in May.”
  • “Bright Data on Monday [6/10] asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to disqualify Quinn Emanuel, accusing it of brazenly switching sides and ignoring ethical conflicts.”
  • “Quinn Emanuel, a 1,000-lawyer litigation-focused firm, has represented Musk and his companies in court cases involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other matters.”
  • “Bright Data Ltd said it had hired lawyers from Quinn Emanuel in 2023 to evaluate its litigation strategy in a related matter involving Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc, paying the firm nearly $40,000.”
  • “Although the individual Quinn Emanuel lawyers hired earlier by Bright Data do not appear on X’s recent filing, the entire firm owes a duty of loyalty and confidentiality to Bright Data, the company argued in Monday’s filing.”
  • “‘Lawyers may switch firms, but firms may not switch sides. Quinn must be disqualified,’ Bright Data said.”
  • “Alsup on Tuesday ordered Bright Data to re-file its disqualification motion after the data scraper apparently misidentified key dates in the filing. ‘If these dates are inaccurate, it undermines the integrity of the entire motion,’ Alsup wrote.”

Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Seeks to Overturn $5 Million Award in Recruiting Loan Case” —

  • “A former Morgan Stanley broker in Florida has asked a court to toss an arbitration award issued last month requiring him to repay the wirehouse over $5 million tied to a recruiting loan that it said became due when he left the firm.”
  • “Federico Cardona, who is now based in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, claims that the decision should be vacated because the sole public arbitrator had allegedly failed to report that he had previously served on panels for six cases in which Morgan Stanley was a party.”
  • “Cardona also alleged that the nearly $130,000 in legal fees that Morgan Stanley was awarded constituted ‘blatant overbilling,’ according to the complaint filed on Wednesday in Florida state court.”
  • “‘The bedrock of the legal system requires full disclosure of conflicts and potential conflicts by jurors and arbitrators, and this case involves yet another prejudicial failure of an arbitrator’s material failure to disclose ongoing conflicts,’ Cardona’s lawyer, Seth I. Rubinson in Houston, wrote in the complaint. “
  • “Claims such as Cardona’s appear to be a long shot as courts are largely deferential to arbitrators. Federal and state law provide narrow grounds for a judge to vacate an award, including that there was ‘evident partiality,’ corruption or misconduct ‘prejudicing the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding,’ according to the Florida arbitration act.”
  • “It may also be challenging for Cardona to contest the award or show that the arbitrator was biased because he did not participate in the proceeding.”
  • “The six prior Morgan Stanley cases which the arbitrator, Langfred W. White, presided over included customer complaints and other promissory note claims dating back to 2009, according to a review of awards that Cardona attached to his lawsuit. White and his co-panelists found in favor of Morgan Stanley or other claimants in most cases but ruled against the firm in a customer dispute in 2019 in which the wirehouse was ordered to pay over $242,000.”