Risk Update

Conflicts News — Trump Conflict Cleared, Patent DQ Denied

Stormy Daniels’ Complaint Against Trump Defense Lawyer Gets Tossed” —

  • “New York’s Attorney Grievance Committee closed the books on Tuesday on a complaint filed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels against one of former President Donald Trump’s criminal defense attorneys.
  • “In September, a New York judge cleared Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina of any conflicts of interest involving Daniels, who is a central witness in the pending hush-money criminal case. But Daniels’ attorney Clark Brewster at the time still had a pending complaint against Tacopina with the grievance committee, which also failed.”
  • “‘Now both the court and the disciplinary committee have ruled that there was no conflict or ethical violation at all, as I have said from day one,’ Tacopina told The Messenger.”
  • “In a CNN interview from 2018, Tacopina told then-host Don Lemon that he could not comment on Daniels because of ‘attorney-client privilege’ tied to her seeking his consultation for legal advice. Tacopina distanced himself from those remarks after joining Trump’s legal team, stating that he never met Daniels, spoke to her or viewed any documents related to her cases.”

OtterBox Rival Can’t DQ Counsel In Phone Case Patent Feud” —

  • “Phone case maker Jefferson Street can’t block Merchant & Gould PC from representing Otter Products LLC based on claims that the firm filed the application for the patents-in-suit, as a Colorado magistrate judge found that Jefferson Street was a separate entity from the patent holder and that there was no evidence showing the firm breached its ethical duties.”
  • “U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Prose said in a Tuesday order that Merchant & Gould filed the patent application for Elizabeth Inc., but Elizabeth never transferred its former relationship with the firm to Jefferson Street Holdings LLC, which does business as Cradl Ltd.”
  • “In addition, Judge Prose found that despite Cradl’s claims that Merchant & Gould’s Denver office is small and would make it difficult to uphold an ethical wall, there were no facts suggesting that the size of the law office would cause it to breach its duties to Elizabeth.”
  • “‘Based on a careful review of the entire record, this court finds no grounds for employing the extreme remedy of disqualification,’ Judge Prose said.”
  • “According to Cradl, the court should reject arguments from Merchant & Gould that there is no conflict because it represented Elizabeth, not Cradl, and that it didn’t prosecute the patent claims in this case because they’re different from the application it filed. Cradl argued that just because Elizabeth’s owner Elizabeth Dining spun out Cradl to another company ‘does not mean that M&G is free to ignore its ethical duties to its former client.'”
  • “Otter struck back in August, arguing that the assignment of a patent doesn’t also transfer an attorney-client relationship related to that patent. Otter also argued that Elizabeth still exists as its own entity and isn’t the parent company of Cradl despite sharing the same owner, who invented the patents-in-suit.”
  • “Beyond that, Otter said the engagement letter Elizabeth signed stated that ‘representation of the company in this matter will not give rise to any conflict of interest in the event other clients of the firm are adverse to any of the company’s affiliates.'”