Risk Update

Ethical Screens, Conflicts & Vigilance — One Firm Disqualified, One Firm Still Fighting

Cozen O’Connor Disqualified Over Delaware Case Conflicts” —

  • “Law firm Cozen O’Connor has multiple conflicts in a Delaware life insurance trust case and can’t continue to represent its client due to a risk that its lawyers will need to testify, the Delaware Superior Court ruled.”
  • “Even though Cozen screened off the attorneys from one another and ‘demonstrated the vigilance appropriate to the profession,’ it can’t continue to represent Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, Judge Paul R. Wallace said.”
  • “Cozen represented Sun Life in the suit, but it had a longstanding outside counsel relationship with WSFS, according to the court. And it previously represented a company called Ocean Gate Life Settlement Program LP, which purchased the life insurance policy from the original insured and beneficiary, the court said.”
  • “But Sun Life conceded Ocean Gate was a prior Cozen client, he said. The two are materially adverse…”

Williams & Connolly Fights DQ Bid In $150M LabMD Suit” —

  • “Williams & Connolly LLP told a Virginia federal court that it shouldn’t be disqualified from representing Reed Smith LLP in a $150 million malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by LabMD Inc., saying the defunct cancer-screening company, which has pursued a number of similar suits, doesn’t have the evidence to back up its motion.”
  • “Williams & Connolly wrote in its response Monday to a motion to disqualify from LabMD that the medical testing company had waited eight months after learning the firm represented Reed Smith before objecting and that it had not provided anything to back up its claim that LabMD had been a client of Williams & Connolly.”
  • “In March, the company said that a Williams & Connolly attorney consulted with LabMD before the lawsuit was filed and was provided with confidential information. In its response Monday, Reed Smith said that the attorney in question, Rob Cary, met Daugherty at an event in 2017, where they both talked about litigating against the government. Cary was screened from the case after the firm checked for potential conflicts, according to the response.”
  • “The firm also argued that LabMD was never a client of Cary or Williams & Connolly and that the company had waited too long to object to the representation. With a July 10 deadline for completing discovery looming, the firm said, it would be highly unfair to expect Reed Smith to find and familiarize new counsel in the case.”