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Conflicts and More — DQ Motion Defeated, Judge’s Ethics Issue Escalates, California Lawyer Treason Law Signed

Paul Weiss Stays on Google Suit After Surviving Yelp Motion” —

  • “The law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison can continue representing Alphabet Inc.‘s Google in the Justice Department’s advertising technology monopoly case against the company, a federal judge ruled.”
  • “In a Friday bench ruling in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema denied a motion by Yelp Inc. and the News/Media Alliance trade group to disqualify the firm over previous work it did for the two groups. The motion—based on allegations that Paul Weiss was conflicted between its current work representing Google and prior work for Yelp and NMA—fails to show any real risk of prejudice, Brinkema said.”
  • “Friday’s ruling shows the high bar for alleging ethics violations for lawyers from the same firm who may represent opposing sides in similar cases.”
  • “‘Under this approach most large law firms would be disqualified from similar matters,’ Brinkema noted on Friday. As a result, there can’t be a finding of prejudice against either Yelp or NMA, she said.”
  • “Most states’ ethics rules for lawyers bar them from switching sides in a case without permission from their prior clients. But the situation in the Google case is less straightforward. Paul Weiss had presented Yelp and the News/Media Alliance—a trade group for 200 newspapers in the US and Canada—in prior antitrust work involving the tech giant.”
  • “It’s not enough for parties to be ‘potentially’ affected by the outcome of the ad tech case to show that they’re adverse to Google—an important hurdle in the ethics claim, Brinkema said.”
  • “Google may not submit any evidence pertaining to the two groups going forward, however. And an attorney who previously represented NMA and Yelp for Paul Weiss and has advised on the Google case can’t be involved in the future, Brinkema said. If any details from the firm’s previous work for NMA and Yelp ‘leak over’ to the attorneys working for Google, the leak must stop immediately and be reported to the court, she said.”

Houston bankruptcy judge David Jones resigns after misconduct complaint regarding his relationship with an attorney” —

  • “A prominent Houston bankruptcy judge resigned Monday amidst allegations he did not disclose a years-long romantic relationship with an attorney whose law firm regularly appeared in his court, even after he was asked to recuse himself from a case over the relationship.”
  • “The New Orleans-based appellate court is investigating the allegations and filed a formal misconduct complaint against Jones on Friday, citing multiple potential violations of the code of conduct for federal judges.”
    “The allegations against Jones surfaced in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against him earlier this month, by a shareholder for a company that had a bankruptcy case in Jones’ court, and stem from his relationship with a former attorney for Jackson Walker LLP. The Texas law firm said in a statement that the attorney in question joined the firm as a partner in 2018 and left in December of last year.”
  • “Richman wrote in the formal complaint that the lawyer began living with Jones before 2018 and, although she did not personally appear in Jones’ court after that point or serve as the attorney of record for any cases in his court, she worked on some of those cases and was paid accordingly, with Jones approving those attorney fees. Richman wrote that the fees in question were ‘substantial.'”
  • “She also wrote that Jones’ relationship with the attorney was the subject of a motion to recuse the judge from a case involving Jackson Walker, but Jones allegedly did not disclose the relationship to two other judges who subsequently denied the motion for recusal. Jones ended up presiding over the case and approved Jackson Walker’s attorney fees, Richman wrote.”
  • “‘There is a reasonable probability that if Judge Jones had disclosed the facts concerning his relationship … the motion to recuse would have been granted,’ Richman wrote.”
  • “Jim Wilkinson, a spokesperson for Jackson Walker, said it learned of the attorney’s ‘potential relationship’ with Jones in March 2021 and subsequently instructed her to “stop working and billing on any case that had been assigned to Judge Jones.” Wilkinson said the law firm also sought guidance about the matter from outside ethics counsel. ‘We are confident that we acted responsibly,’ Wilkinson said.”

California lawyers must report ‘treason’ under newly-signed law” —

  • “California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill requiring attorneys to inform the state bar if they suspect other lawyers of treason. Newsom signed Senate Bill 40 into law on Tuesday [October 11]. A spokesperson for the governor said his ‘signature speaks for itself.'”
  • “The new rule requires lawyers to inform the bar if they know of attorneys in the state who engaged or conspired to engage in seditious conspiracy, treason, rebellion or insurrection, as defined by federal law.”
  • “The rule would not apply to information protected by attorney-client privilege, and it would be considered professional misconduct for a lawyer to use the provision to harass others.”
  • “Senate Bill 40 also places more legislative oversight on the State Bar. The California Senate will now have to sign off on the appointment of the State Bar of California’s executive director and general counsel.”
  • “In August the California Supreme Court began requiring lawyers to report fraud, misappropriation of funds and other criminal acts or conduct that raise ‘a substantial question’ about another lawyer’s ‘honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.'”

This post first appeared on Bressler Risk, please read the originial post: here

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Conflicts and More — DQ Motion Defeated, Judge’s Ethics Issue Escalates, California Lawyer Treason Law Signed


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