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Brown July 25 Docs

Brown July 25 Docs

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Published by TechCrunch
Documents filed by Lee, Tran & Liang on behalf of Reggie Brown in his suit against Snapchat on July 25, 2013.
Documents filed by Lee, Tran & Liang on behalf of Reggie Brown in his suit against Snapchat on July 25, 2013.

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: TechCrunch on Jul 31, 2013
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09/13/2013

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REPLY ISO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL
LEE TRAN & LIANG APLCK. Luan Tran (SBN 193808)James M. Lee (SBN 192301)Cyrus Khojandpour (SBN 260233)Lisa J. Chin (SBN 259793)601 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 3900Los Angeles, CA 90017Tel. 213-612-3737 / Fax. 213-612-3773RAY A. MANDLEKAR, ATTORNEY AT LAWRay A. Mandlekar (SBN 196797)601 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 4050Los Angeles, CA 90017Tel. 213-785-6130 / Fax. 213-254-9001Attorneys for Plaintiff Frank Reginald Brown, IV
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIAFOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
FRANK REGINALD BROWN, IV,Plaintiff,v.SNAPCHAT, INC., a Delaware corporation;TOYOPA GROUP, LLC, a California LimitedLiability Company; EVAN THOMASSPIEGEL, an individual; ROBERTCORNELIUS MURPHY, an individual; andDOES 1 through 10 inclusive,Defendants.CASE NO: BC501483Assigned for all purposes to the Honorable JohnL. Segal (Dept. 50)
PLAINTIFF’S REPLY IN SUPPORT OFHIS MOTION TO DISQUALIFYDEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL QUINNEMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVANLLP
[
 Defendants’ Objections to Declarations of  Joseph C. Sarles and Robert Kehr, Response to Defendants’ Objections, and Request for  Judicial Notice Filed Concurrently herewtih]
Hearing:
Date: August 1, 2013Time: 8:30 a.m.Dept.: 50Action Filed: February 21, 2013Trial Date: Not Assigned Yet
 
 
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REPLY ISO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL
 
1
INTRODUCTION
The most notable feature of Defendants’ Opposition is that Defendants are unable to cite onesingle case where a court permitted a law firm to do what Quinn Emanuel is attempting to do here:Obtain confidential information from a client about prospective litigation and then switch sides tooppose that same client in the same litigation, pursuant to a supposed advance waiver of conflict form. No court has allowed a law firm to do this. This Court should not endeavor to be the first.In a recent motion to disqualify that it filed in another matter, Quinn Emanuel called theconcept of successively working on both sides of a case “the cardinal sin under the disqualificationcases,” and obtained disqualification of the opposing firm by urging the court that “[n]o amount of spin and no ethical wall can change the fact that disqualification” is required.
See
 
 Request for Judicial  Notice
(“
 RJN 
”), Exh. B at 1:3-8. The same standard—and result—should apply here.Indeed, Defendants do not dispute that Quinn Emanuel attorney Anthony Alden is conflicted(hence the attempt to isolate him with an ethical wall). Case law, applying the established vicariousdisqualification rule, is clear that this conflict is imputed to the entire Quinn Emanuel firm. Case lawis also clear that no ethical wall can save a side-switching firm from disqualification.The supposed conflict waiver Quinn Emanuel required Plaintiff to sign also does not preventdisqualification, as that supposed waiver is invalid
 
under the factors set forth in
Visa U.S.A., Inc. v. First Data Corp.,
241 F. Supp. 2d 1100, 1105 (N.D. Cal. 2003). Most notably, when Mr. Alden purported to explain in an email the import of that waiver to Plaintiff, he specifically did not mentionthat it would ostensibly permit Quinn Emanuel to represent
the same adverse parties in the very samematter 
he and Plaintiff were discussing. This alone is fatal to Defendants’ waiver argument.Defendants – who replaced their previous counsel to
knowingly
retain a law firm Plaintiff hadconsulted about this same case – now argue they are entitled to counsel of their choice. But “[t]he paramount concern must be to preserve public trust in the scrupulous administration of justice and theintegrity of the bar [and] the important right to counsel of one’s choice must yield to ethicalconsiderations that affect the fundamental principles of our judicial process.”
 People ex rel. Dept. of Corp. v. SpeeDee Oil Change Systems, Inc.
, 20 Cal. 4th 1135, 1145 (1999). This means that there arelimits to a Defendants’ choice of counsel, and this Court should enforce those limits.
 
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REPLY ISO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL
 
2
ARGUMENTI
.
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.
SpeeDee Oil 
, 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.
 Kehr Dec
. 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.”
 RJN 
,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”);
 
SpeeDee Oil 
, 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.
 RJN 
,

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