Gibson Dunn Disqualified by California Superior Court for Using Privileged E-Mail that Had Been Inadvertently Disclosed

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According to the formal Court Order: “An email from attorney to client shows attorney/client privilege; Counsel’s review and use of the email at deposition goes beyond ‘mere exposure’ and raises the likelihood that this could affect the outcome of these proceedings both in terms of Plaintiff’s rights against use of his privileged communications against him and in terms of the …

Judge in W.D. Arkansas Sanctions Attorneys who Dismiss Putative Class Action to Effectuate Settlement in State Court

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A putative class action was filed in the Circuit Court of Polk County, Arkansas, and properly removed under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). An answer was filed, followed by a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings.  Then the court stayed the action on joint motion of the parties. At the initial mediation session, the possibility of …

New Jersey Committee on Lawyer Advertising Issues a Notice to the Bar re “Superlawyers” “Best Lawyers” etc

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Lawyer advertising that mentions awards such as “Super Lawyers,” “Rising Stars” and “Best Lawyers” has spurred the filing of many complaints with the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Lawyer Advertising, which recently issued a reminder: Lawyers may refer to such honors in their advertising “only when the basis for comparison can be verified” and the group bestowing the accolade …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms En Banc Suspension of Attorney Who Hired Co-Counsel in Order to Prompt District Court Judge’s Recusal

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The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a one-year suspension (six months deferred) of an attorney who was found to have hired a close friend of the presiding judge as co-counsel in order to obtain judge’s recusal. Rule 2 of the Eastern District’s Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement states that “the court en banc may impose discipline upon a …

U.S. Ninth Circuit Declines to Mechanically Apply Traditional Conflict Rules to Class Actions

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The articulated bases for the State of California’s automatic disqualification rule for simultaneous conflicts “fits the circumstances of the lawyer who represents a class of plaintiffs whose interests may in some ways be adverse to each other, but all of whose interests are adverse to the defendant. In a class action, conflicts often arise not because an attorney simultaneously represents litigation adversaries but …

Louisiana Supreme Court Issues Rule for the Disposition of Unidentified Funds in Trust Account

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On March 23, 2016, Rules 1.15(g)(7) and 1.15(h) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct were added to provide the following: “Unidentified Funds” are funds on deposit in an IOLTA account for at least one year that after reasonable due diligence cannot be documented as belonging to a client, a third person, or the lawyer or law firm. A lawyer …

ABA Provides Guidance to Attorneys Who Receive Subpoenas Seeking Client File Materials

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The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued a formal opinion addressing a lawyer’s “Obligations Upon Receiving a Subpoena or Other Compulsory Process for Client Documents or Information,” which offers the following guidance and advice: “The lawyer’s obligations of notice and consultation upon receiving a demand for client files and information are essentially the same for current and …

Louisiana Attorney Sanctioned for Reckless Criticism of Trial Court Judge

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An attorney seeking writs from the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding the refusal of a district court to recuse itself in a family law matter accused the trial court judge of manipulating the transcript and the court of appeal of a cover up.  Sanctioning the attorney for a year and a day (with all but six months suspended), a divided Louisiana Supreme Court found …

GM Multi-District Litigation Raises Interesting Ethical Issues Regarding Lead Counsel’s Duties to Other Plaintiffs in the Litigation

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In the General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation, MDL No. 2543, a motion was made to remove Lead Counsel based on a confidential “inventory settlement” of Lead Counsel’s cases, and alleged improprieties regarding the selection (and alleged de-selection) of potential “bellwether” trial cases (in which Lead Counsel allegedly demanded a personal share of the fee).  While the Court’s Order, denying the …

A Client May be Advised to Hide or Remove Social Media, as Long as the Materials Are Preserved

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Both the Florida State Bar Association and the North Carolina State Bar Association have issued advisory opinions indicating that a lawyer may advise a client to “clean up” his or her Facebook or other social media pages by changing the privacy settings so that they are not publicly accessible and/or by removing photos, posts or other information. However, where potentially …