Risk Update

Law Firm Conflicts Clashes — Firm Withdrawal in “Side-switching” Conflicts Allegation, Very Late DQ Motion at Crux of Veritas Clash, Miami Mayor Maintains Law Firm Job While Pursuing Presidency

Crowell & Moring will withdraw in Humana litigation after Walgreens alleges ‘betrayal‘” —

  • “Crowell & Moring is withdrawing from the representation of health insurer Humana after its litigation opponent accused the law firm of ‘unethical side-switching.'”
  • “Crowell lawyers disclosed their withdrawal in a June 12 brief arguing that there was no conflict of interest in its representation of Humana in litigation against Walgreens.”
  • “Walgreens made the accusation of ‘betrayal’ in a petition to vacate a $642 million arbitration award obtained by Humana for Walgreens overcharges.”
  • “Walgreens alleges that Crowell advised Walgreens in 2008 and 2009 on whether a pharmacy savings club would affect the ‘usual and customary’ prices that the pharmacy reported to insurers for reimbursement.”
  • “Then in 2017, Crowell sent a ‘pitch’ document to Humana arguing that Walgreens and other pharmacies had overcharged the insurer because the savings club prices were not treated as usual and customary. Humana hired to pursue litigation against Walgreens.”
  • “In the June 12 brief, Humana argued that Walgreens failed to file a motion to disqualify at the outset of the arbitration, instead holding its conflict claims as a ‘get out of jail free’ card if it lost in arbitration.”
  • “A separate lawsuit filed by Walgreens against Crowell in Washington, D.C., superior court alleges that the firm breached its fiduciary duty to Walgreens.”

Veritas Took Too Long To Seek To DQ Rival’s Atty, Court Told” —

  • “Freedom Legal Plans LLC has pushed back against Veritas Legal Plan Inc.’s bid to disqualify its lawyer and his firm, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman PL, in a Florida federal lawsuit between the former partners, saying the attorney presents no conflict and, even if he did, Veritas waited far too long to raise concerns.”
  • “In fighting Veritas’ motion to disqualify Howard DuBosar and his firm from representing FLP against its suit, FLP on Friday played down DuBosar’s previous relationship with Veritas and said the company waived its right to contest his representation on multiple occasions by waiting so long to file the motion. Veritas is suing FLP for allegedly violating an agreement to market its programs and then directly competing with it.”
  • “Veritas didn’t bring a motion to disqualify DuBosar or the firm the first time around because the matter was dismissed without prejudice shortly after it had discovered the conflict, according to the company’s disqualification motion.”
  • “In its response, FLP does admit there were ties between its attorney and Veritas. In January 2016, Angelo Anzalone, Veritas’ principal, consulted DuBosar Sheres PA to analyze the enforceability of its noncompetition agreement, and on whether certain demands could be made or actions could be brought against various other nonrelated parties, it said.”
  • “DuBosar told Anzalone that the noncompetition agreement did not appear to be enforceable with regard to the potential disputes in question. FLP said Friday that based on a review of billing records, the ‘minimal and limited task’ was not billed for, and the work was done by another of DuBosar Sheres’ attorneys, Robert Sheres.”
  • “‘Following this minor service performed by Mr. Sheres, Anzalone requested that DuBosar Sheres, and later DuBosar Law Group, represent him in a personal transaction having nothing to do with plaintiff,’ FLP said, adding that ‘Howard DuBosar’s former law firm’s involvement with plaintiff merely involved his former law partner reworking a page of that agreement, so it would be facially enforceable.'”
  • “In June 2020, DuBosar Law Group PA joined Weiss Serota, and around mid-2022, FLP and the other defendants were referred to DuBosar for representation in the lawsuit. At that time, Weiss Serota performed the required conflict check, which did not flag any conflict issues, FLP said.”
  • “There were multiple instances in which Veritas waived its chance to file a motion to disqualify, FLP argued. That included waiting through almost the entire 2022 lawsuit without objecting to DuBosar and his firm’s representation.”

Miami Mayor to Keep Quinn Emanuel Job During White House Run” —

  • “Miami Mayor Francis Suarez plans to keep his job at a top law firm while running for president, saying he sees no conflict of interest.”
  • “Suarez has worked at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan since 2021, when the massive firm launched a Miami office across the street from City Hall in Coconut Grove. The firm, which brought in more than $1.6 billion in gross revenue last year, counts Twitter Inc.’s Elon Musk, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and hedge fund giant Citadel as clients.”
  • “Citadel founder Ken Griffin gave Suarez’s state campaign $1 million, according to campaign filings, a move seen as hedging his bet on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.”
  • “Suarez has come under fire for other conflicts of interest. A side job as consultant for a local real estate developer has led to multiple investigations, according to the Miami Herald, as the developer that hired him claimed, in internal company documents, to have paid Suarez $170,000 to help cut through red tape. Suarez has denied wrongdoing.”
  • “‘To the extent that the mayor’s regulatory noncompliance is entangled with the economic interests of campaign donors and often undisclosed private sector employers doing business with the City of Miami, his conduct raises very troubling questions of ethical candor, civic accountability, and government transparency,’ said Anthony Alfieri, a University of Miami law professor. “
  • “The firm said when it hired Suarez that the firm would take certain unidentified steps to avoid conflicts. Suarez is required by local ethics rules to avoid taking action as mayor that would ‘directly or indirectly affect’ the law firm, according to a 2020 memo issued by county officials in response to a guidance request from the mayor’s office.”