Friday, March 19, 2010

Not Substantially Related

The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed an attorney disqualification orderin a matter involving a peripatetic employee. When the employee joined a printing company in 2003, he was sued by a former employer for an alleged violation of a covenant not to compete. The printing compant retained an attorney for the employee. When the employee then left the printing company in 2009, the attorney represented the company in a suit against him for breach of the duty of loyalty, misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion

The court here found that the district court improperly considered the appearence of impropriety but that the error was harmless in light of its de novo review of conclusions of law. The court found that the matters were not substantially related as the representations do not present the same liability or scientific issues. The only common witness is the employee.The court also noted the three-year gap between the end of the prior representation and the start of this case. (Mike Frisch)

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