Risk Update

Contentious Conflicts — Allegations, Aggression, Accusations & Acrimony

Morgan & Morgan Accuses Carlton Fields of Putting ‘Cash Ahead of Duties’ in Malpractice Case” —

  • “Morgan & Morgan’s Florida Business Trial Group has hit Tampa-based Am Law 200 firm Carlton Fields and four of its attorneys with a legal malpractice lawsuit claiming Carlton Fields betrayed a client by representing a company on the opposite side of a transaction.”
  • “The complaint claims that after years of representing Orlando title insurance trust Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, defendants Nathaniel L. Doliner, Marty J. Solomon, William G. Giltinan and Christopher W. Smart began simultaneously representing its business partner Old Republic National Title Holding Co. in a deal that worked against the plaintiff’s interests.”
  • “‘Sadly, Carlton Fields made the conscious decision to put cash ahead of the duties it owed to ATIF,’ the complaint said.”
  • “Carlton Fields represented Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund in this deal among others and billed at least $1.4 million in fees in four years, according to the lawsuit. The agreement went through various amendments until it become a master agreement—which Carlton Fields allegedly worked with Old Republic to draft without getting a conflict waiver from their client first. They did eventually get a conflict waiver, but the lawsuit claims that was invalid because it wasn’t approved by the plaintiff’s board or shareholders and waived only ‘potential’ conflicts and not ‘actual conflicts.'”
  • “‘We have acted in accordance with our ethical and fiduciary duties. We believe that the claims are baseless and will vigorously defend ourselves,’ Carlton Fields spokesperson Kate Barth said in an emailed statement.”

Allegations Fly Against Lawyers on Both Sides of 3M’s Bair Hugger Lawsuits” —

  • “Three lead plaintiffs attorneys accused in a sanctions motion of disclosing sealed documents in lawsuits over Bair Hugger surgical blankets have brought their own motion for sanctions, claiming 3M’s lawyers ‘resorted to fabricating facts.'”
  • “Last month, 3M Corp. filed a motion for contempt and sanctions against the plaintiffs lawyers, who are leading more than 5,000 lawsuits alleging its Bair Hugger warming blankets, used in surgeries, increased the risk of infection. The three attorneys, 3M’s lawyers wrote, disclosed sealed documents, most recently in a publicly filed motion to compel, submitted for a separate state court case in Texas, according to 3M’s motion.”
  • “‘Contempt and the imposition of sanctions are warranted where, as here, an attorney repeatedly violates court orders governing the confidentiality of documents,’ wrote 3M attorney Benjamin Hulse. ‘MDL counsel have repeatedly expressed their disagreement with this court’s sealing orders and have repeatedly shown they have no qualms about violating them when it suits their purpose. Nothing short of a sanction order from this court will curb their misconduct.'”
  • “According to 3M’s sanctions motion, filed June 6, plaintiffs lawyers in the multidistrict litigation disclosed a sealed 2015 opinion by a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas in a Bair Hugger case called Walton v. 3M as part of a motion to compel filed earlier this year in a separate lawsuit in Hiladgo County District Court. They also disclosed sealed documents about a 3M product called ‘Bair Paws’ that addressed why some practitioners do not use the Bair Hugger system, the sanctions motion says.”
  • “Plaintiffs lawyers wrote back that 3M’s injunction argument ‘defies common sense, equity and fairness, and principles of federalism, not to mention the overwhelming weight of binding Supreme Court authority.’ The three plaintiffs attorneys targeted in the sanctions motion also denied that they disclosed sealed documents, stating that the information was publicly available.”