Risk Update

Lawyer Conflicts News — Conflicts Allegation Meets Privilege Fight, City Conflicts Causes Civil Penalty, Insider Trader Dikshit’s Last Ditch Conflicts Accusation

Pace-O-Matic Potential Victim Of Legal Misconduct In PA Skill Games Battle” —

  • “Pace-O-Matic (POM), a Georgia-based skill games manufacturer, is in the midst of a lawsuit against former legal partner Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, LLC (Eckert), claiming the firm also represented a Pennsylvania casino at the same time. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of POM, allowing it to review Eckert’s privileged logs.”
  • “In a detailed press release, POM is alleging Eckert worked with a PA casino while representing POM. Eckert’s actions would be considered a conflict of interest.”
  • “After citing several instances where PA courts have overturned a law firm’s confidential information, Jennifer P. Wilson, United States District Judge Middle District of Pennsylvania, ruled that POM could access Eckert’s documents to determine any wrongdoing.”
  • “Eckert has denied the allegations, and even swore to a Federal District Court it would not engage in a conflict of interest. However, POM is accusing Eckert of secretly representing Parx Casino, an opponent of POM.”
  • “This isn’t the first time a court has ruled against Eckert in this case. POM is alleging Eckert worked simultaneously with Parx Casino and ‘actively participated in and covertly manipulated litigation.'”
  • “When confronted about the conflict of interest, Eckert then reportedly withheld emails to protect itself from any dealing with Parx. In November 2021, US Magistrate Judge Joseph Saporito, Jr. concluded that Eckert acted in ‘bad faith’ by withholding those emails.”
  • “Saporito stated that Eckert: ‘Actively and clandestinely managed and participated in the representation of Parx in the Commonwealth Court litigation against its other client, POM. Moreover, based on our in-camera review of the purportedly privileged documents, it did so with full knowledge that the conflict asserted by POM precluded its active and continuing representation of Parx in the Commonwealth Court litigation.'”

Arroyo pays penalty in conflict of interest case” —

  • “Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has paid a $3,000 civil penalty and admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by continuing to represent his brother in a civil lawsuit against defendants that included the city of Boston after he became a city councilor, according to ethics law regulators.”
  • “The State Ethics Commission announced on June 27 that Arroyo signed a disposition agreement in which he admitted to the violation. The commission said Arroyo ‘entered an appearance’ as an attorney on behalf of his brother in the civil lawsuit prior to becoming a city councilor in January 2020, and then ‘did not withdraw from the case and instead continued to participate in it as an attorney, including in the deposition of a City of Boston employee.'”
  • “The commission noted that the state’s conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees, including elected officials, from ‘acting as agent or attorney for anyone other than the municipality in connection with matters in which the municipality is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.'”
  • “‘The law required Arroyo to cease acting as attorney for his brother in the lawsuit when he became a City Councilor,’ the commission said in a press release. ‘While an appointed municipal employee may, with the approval of their appointing authority, act as agent or attorney for their immediate family member in a matter involving the municipality, this exemption is not available to elected municipal employees like Arroyo.'”

Ex-McKinsey Partner Who Traded on Goldman Deal Seeks Release From Prison” —

  • “A former McKinsey & Co. partner who pleaded guilty to insider trading on a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. acquisition said conflicts of interest and mistakes by his defense lawyers merit his release from prison.”
  • “Puneet Dikshit, who is currently serving a two-year sentence, said in a May 30 Manhattan federal court filing that he received a particularly harsh penalty because his lawyers at the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel failed to highlight his immediate remorse over his conduct and earlier efforts to turn himself in.”
  • “According to Dikshit, 42, this was partly because the lead prosecutor in his case, Joshua Naftalis, is the son of Kramer Levin name partner Gary Naftalis. Kramer Levin lawyers showed deference to Joshua Naftalis, who sometimes worked out of the firm’s offices and had ‘much greater than normal access to and influence over the law firm and the defense counsel,’ Dikshit said.”
  • “His petition for release, in which Dikshit is representing himself, is a longshot. But his filing paints a picture of an insider trader’s gnawing fear as well as the close ties between Manhattan federal prosecutors and the white-collar defense bar.”
  • “Prosecutors said in the filing that Dikshit was an active participant in his own defense and that there was strong evidence that he was fully aware of the relationship between the Naftalises.”
  • “Dikshit was sentenced last year after admitting in December 2021 that he bought short-term options on GreenSky Inc. while leading a McKinsey team advising Goldman on its acquisition of the financial technology company. According to prosecutors, he made around $450,000 on his illegal trades.”
  • “The former consultant said he quickly regretted his conduct and contacted another law firm, Ford O’Brien, four days later to explore reporting himself to the Securities and Exchange Commission… He said he went to Kramer Levin after the Ford O’Brien lawyers strongly discouraged him from turning himself in. Dikshit said he was arrested before he could take action.”
  • “Though his Kramer Levin lawyers had been supportive of his desire to self-report, Dikshit said they failed to raise it during his sentencing and didn’t challenge prosecution statements suggesting he only sought to turn himself in after he knew that he was under investigation.”
  • “This ‘resulted in the court getting an unfavorable, one-sided, and untrue perception of the petitioner and his offense conduct and his subsequent actions,’ Dikshit said. The judge then gave him ‘one of the harshest, if not the harshest’ insider-trading sentences in years”