“We all get a second chance; it’s called tomorrow.” Anon. Moye White (MW) represented David Beren in probate litigation. MW employed and assigned to Beren’s case an attorney with a past of disciplinary proceedings, mental illness, alcoholism, and related arrests. MW sued Beren for its attorneys’ fees; Beren counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary duty claiming he should have been told about the attorney’s history. The court of appeals disagreed; a law firm does not have a duty to disclose such history to a client. Any risk posed by an attorney’s past conduct is speculative, and therefore not material. For the same reason, no ethical duty to disclose such information exists under professional conduct rules 1.4 or 7.1. The court of appeals also upheld costs awarded MW for uploading documents into a document review platform and costs incurred after a pretrial offer of settlement.
Tag Archives: Rule of Professional Conduct
In Re Emily Liebnow v. Boston Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Giacomo’s, U.S. Foodservice, Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc. et. al.
“The closed mouth catches no flies” – B. Franklin. This case involves the disqualification of an entire firm based on an unwaivable conflict of interest. Defense counsel had a friendly relationship with an out-of-state plaintiff’s Firm specializing in e-coli cases and consulted with a lawyer at the Firm about an e-coli case. Defense counsel followed some of his advice. In the same case, Plaintiff hired a different lawyer from the same Firm. The trial court denied pro hac vice admission, effectively disqualifying the Firm. The Court upheld the trial court’s ruling that under the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) an unwaivable conflict was created under RPC 1.7, and that RPC 1.10 imputed that conflict to the entire firm. The Court also held that RPC 1.7 conflicts apply to third parties, and here the conflict was unwaivable becase it undermined the fairness of the proceedings.