Risk Update

Conflicts & DQ News — “Tit-for-Tat” Disqualification Battle, Casino Clashes

Insurer Seeks Do-Over On Greenberg DQ Bid In Hartford Case” —

  • “An Indiana magistrate who let Greenberg Traurig stay in a trade secrets case for a Hartford insurance unit made “clear errors” when she decided the BigLaw firm never represented its current adversary, defendant OneCIS Insurance Co. said Thursday.”
  • “The filing is an outgrowth of tit-for-tat disqualifications bids in Hartford’s suit accusing two former employees and OneCIS — their current employer — of stealing trade secrets and customer information.”
  • “Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Debra McVicker Lynch granted Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.’s bid to disqualify OneCIS’ counsel at McGuireWoods because the firm also has a long history representing Hartford on labor and employment issues, creating an unwaivable conflict in the current case.”
  • “In a separate order, Judge Lynch also denied OneCIS’ call for Greenberg’s removal, saying there was ‘no evidence’ the firm had ever represented OneCIS. She also said OneCIS had conceded the current case was unrelated ‘to any matter for which Greenberg Traurig has ever provided legal advice to any company related to OneCIS.'”
  • “In Thursday’s filing, OneCIS took sharp issue with both those assertions, saying it had “expressly” argued to the contrary in its motion and submitted declarations.”

Borgata, Ocean Casino’s Law Firms Start Battle Within The Battle” —

  • “The core of the lawsuit filed in August by Borgata in Nevada federal court against Atlantic City rival Ocean Resort Casino and two key casino executives is based on whether the executives violated employment contracts and improperly provided Ocean with proprietary trade secrets.”
  • “Last week, powerful Philadelphia-based law firm Blank Rome — which represents Ocean — augmented its claim that Jackson Lewis, Borgata’s counsel, be disqualified.”
  • “The charge is based on the fact that Jackson Lewis, itself a powerful law firm with hundreds of attorneys, has both Borgata and Blank Rome — its adversary in this case — as ongoing clients, so it thereby ‘violated the duty of loyalty’ to Blank Rome in participating in the lawsuit.”
  • “Borgata already had sought to oust Blank Rome from the case because of allegedly unethical conduct — as claimed by Jackson Lewis — in contacting a high-ranking Borgata employee in mid-September without Borgata’s permission.”
  • “‘The basis of Blank Rome’s Motion is very simple and straightforward: Jackson Lewis has moved to disqualify and seeks other sanctions against its client, Blank Rome, in its representation of another client, and is therefore taking a directly adverse position to its client,’ an attorney for Blank Rome stated in a 14-page filing early last week. ‘This is not, as Jackson Lewis would have this Court believe, a ‘no harm, no foul’ situation. To the contrary, Jackson Lewis committed a foul, and Blank Rome has been significantly harmed as a result.'”
  • “Attorneys for Jackson Lewis have told the court that its work for Blank Rome was minimal — just ‘a handful of visa applications, one or two a year.’ But the volume of work does not erase an obligation for Jackson Lewis to seek permission to serve as an adversary in another case, according to Blank Rome.”
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