Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Inventor/Attorney’s Law Firm Disqualified to Serve as Plaintiff’s Counsel

The court granted defendant's motion to disqualify plaintiff's counsel because an attorney at plaintiff's firm was an inventor of the patents-in-suit and would be a key trial witness. "[The inventor/attorney] does not fit the role of 'lawyer-litigant-witness' as contemplated by [Bottaro v. Hatton Associates, 680 F.2d 895 (2d Cir. 1982)] because [the inventor/attorney] is not a litigant. As a result, [his] personal interest in choosing [his firm] as counsel is lessened. . . . In this case, while [the inventor/attorney] is the managing member of [plaintiff], he is not a party litigant. The court concludes that [his] interest will not be clear to the jury, and he will more likely be viewed by the jury as an attorney in plaintiff counsel’s firm, not as the plaintiff in the case."

WhitServe LLC v. GoDaddy.com, Inc.
, et. al., 3-11-cv-00948 (CTD December 15, 2011, Order) (Hall, J.)

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