Risk Update

When Firms Fail — Client Chases, Conflicts, Clashes, Disqualification Efforts & “Lord of the Flies”

The final days of Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano? A war is raging within the Philly law firm” —

  • “The four law partners once worked in harmony in their Center City headquarters, raking in millions of dollars by successfully representing injured workers, and establishing themselves as major players in Democratic politics. More recently, however, that relationship has been strained. Now, it has disintegrated, to the point that one faction is fighting over clients with an excommunicated partner who was locked out of the building this week.”
  • “Legal filings provide an extraordinary play-by-play of a simmering management dispute that devolved into internecine war at the largest workers’ comp firm in Pennsylvania. The court docket reads like an alternative version of The Lord of the Flies, one where the boys grew up and started wearing suits.”
  • “In the petition, Stern said employees at the firm, within minutes of Stern’s supposed expulsion, began sending Stern’s clients letters and emails informing them of ‘Mr. Stern’s departure’ and forcing them to choose between going with Stern or switching to a remaining partner at the firm.”
  • “‘The Pond defendants have made it appear that Stern’s whereabouts are ‘unknown,’ causing some clients to believe Stern has been physically harmed and others to believe he stopped practicing law and otherwise causing extreme confusion and upsetment amongst his clients,’ wrote Stern’s attorney, Benjamin Garber, who added that some Stern clients ‘have informed Stern that they ‘love him’ and are extremely confused by the notices….'”
  • “‘We clearly disagree with the allegations — we have no apologies for demanding excellence for our clients,’ Pond said. ‘I’ve said all along that our concern first and foremost always is for our clients, staff and referral partners. That’s where our focus has to be and this will not disrupt our mission.’

Ex-Attys Can’t DQ New Counsel In $350M Shire Deal” —

  • “At a hearing in Tampa, U.S. District Judge Anthony E. Porcelli said Kevin Darken’s motion to disqualify Noel McDonell, Bryen Hill and their firm Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen PA is moot because only the receiver of the now-defunct Barry A. Cohen PA firm — where Darken worked while handling the case — has standing to bring these claims and assert privilege over emails Darken says were obtained without authorization.”
  • “In his motion, Darken said McDonell and Hill, who currently represent Vinca, improperly used confidential emails from Barry A. Cohen PA to challenge the charging lien filed by Darken, Cohen and Saady & Saxe PA for a cut of the attorney fees.”
  • “Vinca, who fired his attorneys in March 2018, is suing Darken, the Cohen firm and Saady & Saxe for malpractice, claiming they cost him the full whistleblower’s cut of the Shire settlement. He says his former counsel’s failures forced him to share the whistleblower award of the settlement with the five other relators who filed FCA suits after his.”
  • “Darken argued that Vinca’s malpractice claim is based on stolen, privileged and confidential emails and documents from the Cohen firm. Vinca’s current attorneys say that when Cohen’s firm could not cover its financial obligations, employees were locked out but were left with their computers, so documents were not secured. Vinca, who has the right to claim attorney-client privilege, has not objected to the use of the documents.”