Thursday, March 6, 2014

Plaintiff’s Merger With Defense Counsel’s Former Client Warrants Disqualification

The court granted plaintiff's motion to disqualify defense counsel who had served as lead patent counsel for a company that merged with plaintiff. "[F]or purposes of Rule 3-310(E), [plaintiff] is [defense counsel's] former client. By virtue of [the] merger with [plaintiff], [plaintiff] is now the holder of the attorney-client privilege relating to [defense counsel's] representation of [the company that merged with plaintiff]. . . . [Defense counsel's] extensive and long-term representation of [that company] unquestionably created an attorney-client relationship between them. [The] subsequent merger with [plaintiff] did not extinguish that relationship. [Defense counsel's] argument to the contrary 'exalts substance over form,' and is contrary to purposes of the attorney-client relationship."

Sunbeam Products, Inc. v. Oliso Inc., 3-13-cv-03577 (CAND March 4, 2014, Order) (Illston, J.)

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