Sunday, May 19, 2013

Giving Friendly Advice Can Create a Conflict of Interest

Be careful about giving informal advice. From Litigation News:

In Liebnow v. Boston Enterprises, an attorney defending a case involving food-borne illness called a plaintiff’s attorney with whom she remained friendly after they represented opposing parties in an earlier similar case. The consulted attorney, an associate at a small out-of-state firm focused on representing plaintiffs in food-borne illness cases first ran a conflicts check and determined that his firm was not involved in the case. He then proceeded to discuss with her the theories of the defense, suggesting she change her focus in at least one area and recommending an expert whom she later retained.

Subsequently, another attorney in the consulted attorney’s firm was asked to join in representing the plaintiff and moved for pro hac vice admission in the District Court for Pueblo County, Colorado. The defendant opposed the motion on the basis that defense counsel had provided confidential information about the case to the same law firm in the earlier consultation. The trial court agreed and denied the motion, disqualifying the out-of-state firm.

You can read more here.


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