REPLY ISO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL
QUINN EMANUEL SWITCHED SIDES IN THE SAME CASE
Defendants know that side-switching in the same case is “[t]he most egregious conflict of interest” mandating automatic disqualification.
, 20 Cal. 4th at 1146. As a result,Defendants hired Robert Kehr, a “distinguished ethics expert,” to issue the incredulous opinion thatQuinn Emanuel cannot be disqualified because no side-switching had occurred due to the fact that ithad declined to represent Plaintiff.
. at 2.At the outset, Mr. Kehr’s entire declaration is inadmissible because it seeks to offer improper legal opinions.
See Plaintiff’s Objections to Kehr Decl
. In another case, Quinn Emanuel attacked Mr.Kehr for offering the same type of inadmissible opinion: “Mr. Kehr has been reprimanded by courtsin the past for these exact types of impermissible opinions. A Westlaw search for opinions in whichhis testimony has been offered shows that the only two opinions addressing Mr. Kehr’s expert opinionexcluded it as offering improper legal conclusions […] The Court should do so here as well.”
,Exh. A at 3:2-5. Mr. Kehr’s declaration should suffer the same fate urged by Quinn Emanuel.Regardless, Mr. Kehr is absolutely wrong. Courts have consistently held that an attorney whoreceived confidential information may still be disqualified even if no formal attorney-clientrelationship had formed or engagement had resulted.
See Morrison Knudsen Corp. v. Hancock, Rothert & Bunshofts
, 69 Cal. App. 4th 223, 232-33 (1999) (“an attorney’s receipt of confidentialinformation from a non-client may lead to the attorney’s disqualification”);
, 20 Cal.4th at1147-48 (“fiduciary relationship existing between a lawyer and client extends to preliminaryconsultations by a prospective client with a view to retention of the lawyer, although actualemployment does not result”);
Li v. A Perfect Day Franchise, Inc.
, 2011 WL 4635176 at *2-5 (N.D.Cal.) (attorney disqualified from “substantially related” matter after previously had a 30-90 minute“preliminary conversation that did not result in professional employment or services”).In another successful motion to disqualify, Quinn Emanuel cited to applicable case law andcorrectly described the McKool Smith firm as having engaged “in a classic and clearly impermissiblecase of switching sides” due to a previous 45-minute telephone conversation between QuinnEmanuel’s client and McKool Smith on the same matter that did not result in a formal retention.