Risk Update

Disqualification Clashes — Baseball and Family Business Battles

Judge Denies Motion to Disqualify Former Major Leaguer’s Law Firm” —

  • “On the eve of trial of former Major League Baseball All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra’s malpractice suit against a law firm he hired after he was allegedly beaten by deputes in the Men’s Central Jail in 2012, a judge Friday denied that firm’s motion to disqualify the current group of lawyers from representing him.”
  • “Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Nieto stated in a written ruling that although the action of an attorney for Dykstra’s current firm, Pierce, Bainbridge, Beck, Price & Hecht LLP, regarding an email communication was ‘improper and potentially warrants punishment,’ disqualification was not the proper remedy.
    The suit alleges Boucher LLP lawyers did not conduct meaningful trial preparation and discovery during a 14-month period, actions amounting to ‘attorney misconduct and client abandonment.'”
  • “Dykstra is suing the firm Boucher LLP. On Sept. 29, Pierce Bainbridge lawyer Thomas D. Warren sent an email — a copy of which is contained in Pierce Bainbridge’s court papers — to attorneys representing the Boucher LLP firm stating that he would like to speak to the head of the firm, Raymond Boucher, about potentially resolving the case ‘unless you have any objection.’ A copy of the email was sent to Boucher, according to the Pierce Bainbridge court papers. In their court papers, the Boucher attorneys called the email a ‘calculated move to help Dykstra extract money from defendants by getting between them and their attorneys.'”
  • “Lawyers for Boucher LLP state in their court papers that Dykstra repeatedly lied to the Boucher attorneys and that they eventually realized they had little or no chance of winning his case. When the Boucher attorneys met with Dykstra in September 2016 to tell them they were withdrawing their representation, he fired them shortly after the meeting began, according to the Boucher attorneys’ court papers.”

Judge Won’t DQ Foley & Lardner Attys Yet In Family Biz Fight” —

  • “A Wisconsin federal judge has refused to disqualify two Foley & Lardner LLP attorneys in a yearslong shareholders dispute between extended family members but is making the pair submit to a deposition, warning that they may have to step down as trial counsel if their testimony is required during that proceeding.”
  • “U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller on Wednesday referred to the dispute over whether or not the attorneys could be deposed and should be disqualified as ‘tangled’ and arguments on both sides ‘precarious,’ writing in his order that there was currently not enough basis to disqualify Foley attorneys Bryan House and Thomas Shriner Jr.”
  • “However, he said House and Shriner had made themselves potential fact witnesses by supplying information personally in support of a motion filed by their clients in August, and the pair should, therefore, be deposed.”
  • “House and Shriner, who represent the Bechthold contingent, each submitted a declaration in support of the motion for summary judgment in August, though the court noted they could have had other parties supply the same information. Not long after, the Deweys filed a motion to disqualify the pair, saying House and Shriner were involved in the conduct at the heart of their suit, including efforts to allegedly hide real estate assets from the Deweys and holding conversations about a vote for a 2014 bylaw amendment that places certain restrictions on selling shares in the companies.”
  • “‘Attorneys who inject themselves as fact witnesses in the proceedings cannot claim harassment and undue burden when the opposing party seeks discovery from them,’ Judge Stadtmueller wrote.”
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