New York City Bar Association Issues Opinion re “Contingent” Loans to Attorneys

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The New York City Bar Association opined that: “A lawyer may not enter into a financing agreement with a litigation funder, a non-lawyer, under which the lawyer’s future payments to the funder are contingent on the lawyer’s receipt of legal fees or on the amount of legal fees received in one or more specific matters.” Distinguishing from arrangements in which …

While Enforcing Arbitration Provision, U.S. District Court in California Sanctions Defendant

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Plaintiff Kate McLellan sued Fitbit for alleged misrepresentations about the accuracy of heart rate monitoring in its devices. Fitbit told the Court that the Terms of Service McLellan had agreed to required arbitration of her claims at the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Fitbit also said that McLellan’s objections to the scope and enforceability of the agreement were delegated to the …

U.S. District Court in Illinois Allows Suit Against Professional Objectors to Proceed

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In a suit brought by class action attorney Jay Edelson against professional objectors Darrell Palmer and Chris Bandas, the court dismissed the RICO and abuse of process claims, but allowed the claims based on unauthorized practice of law to proceed. “Bandas does not contest Plaintiff’s categorization of his and Palmer’s activities in the Gannett litigation as constituting the ‘practice of …

U.S. District Court in New Jersey Precludes Trial Counsel from Responding to Juror who Reached Out to Explain what Happened During Deliberations

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Following a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs in an employment discrimination case, one of the defense counsel received the following message through the firm’s website: “Hello, This message is for Mr. Carmagnola and not for legal advice. As a member of the jury for the Montone vs. Jersey City case, I was wondering if you’d like to know a …

Ohio Board of Professional Conduct Places Restrictions on Settlements Which Include Secrecy Agreements

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The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recently opined that: “A settlement agreement that prohibits a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained in a court record is an impermissible restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice. A lawyer may not participate in either the offer or acceptance of a settlement agreement that includes a prohibition on a lawyer’s disclosure of information contained …

Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility Places Restrictions on Settlements which Include Secrecy Agreements

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The Tennessee Board issued an Ethics Opinion which advises that: “It is improper for an attorney to propose or accept a provision in a settlement agreement that requires the attorney to be bound by a confidentiality clause that prohibits a lawyer from future use of information learned during the representation or disclosure of information that is publicly available or that …

While Reversing Jury Verdict Due to Attorney Conduct, U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Plaintiffs on Personal Jurisdiction, Preemption, and Product Defect in Medical Device Case

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Plaintiffs who received metal-on-metal hip implants, suffered complications, and required revision surgery, received jury verdict of $502 million against the manufacturer and its parent company. The District Court applied Texas’ statutory exemplary-damages cap, which reduced the $360 million punitive award to $9.6 million. On appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit held that: (i) metal-on-plastic hip implants were viable alternative design, (ii) …

ABA Issues Formal Opinion Regarding an Attorney’s Duty to Inform the Client of a Material Error in Representation

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Recognizing that errors occur along a continuum, an error is material if a disinterested lawyer would conclude that it is (a) reasonably likely to harm or prejudice a client; or (b) of such a nature that it would reasonably cause a client to consider terminating the representation even in the absence of harm or prejudice. More fully: “A lawyer’s responsibility …

Superior Court Judge in Arizona Grants Center for Auto Safety’s Motion to Unseal Records from Goodyear G159 Tire Cases

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The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) intervened into a wrongful death suit against Goodyear arising from defects in its G159 tire.  The Court granted CAS’s motion to unseal a large portion of the records that had been previously subject to a protective order, in that case and in several other similar cases. “In the course of the ruling adopting the Protective Order, …

Attorneys Sanctioned by Texas State Court for Collusive Settlement involving Minors Competing for Limited Insurance Coverage

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The victim of a trucking accident was survived by two different sets of children with two different mothers.  Each instituted a separate wrongful death action, which were consolidated, on motion of the defendant, in Webb County.  The defendant’s insurer was willing to settle for policy limits, and initally proposed mediation or arbitration to apportion the insurance proceeds between and among …