Do Attorneys Hurt One Client to Help Another?

It's often said to us that a predecessor attorney was corrupt, or "took" the money, or was "bought."  We've yet to see direct evidence of attorney corruption, but the case of AMY R. GURVEY, Plaintiff-Appellant, -v.- COWAN, LIEBOWITZ & LATMAN, P.C., CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC., LIVE NATION, INC., INSTANT LIVE CONCERTS, LLC, NEXTICKETING, INC., WILLIAM BORCHARD, MIDGE HYMAN, BAILA CELEDONIA, CHRISTOPHER JENSEN, DALE HEAD, STEVE SIMON, MICHAEL GORDON, and SUSAN SCHICK, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 09-2185-cv(L), 10-4111 (Con) UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT 462 Fed. Appx. 26; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 2737; 2012-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P77,794 brings up some interesting issues.  Did the law firm misappropriate her trade secrets and then give them to other clients for profit?

"However, we vacate the District Court's judgment to the extent that it dismissed Gurvey's claims for attorney malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty against the Cowan defendants. Construing the TAC liberally, accepting all the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in Gurvey's favor, see Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 570, we conclude that Gurvey stated a plausible claim by alleging that the defendants used the information given to them as part of a confidential attorney-client relationship to their own advantage by disclosing it to other clients who then profited therefrom to Gurvey's detriment, see Ulico Cas. Co. v. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, 56 A.D.3d 1, 10, 865 N.Y.S.2d 14 (1st Dep't 2008). 8 We therefore remand the cause for further proceedings before the District Court on these claims.


FOOTNOTES

8 The plausibility of this argument is bolstered by Gurvey's allegation that Cowan withdrew from representing Gurvey before the United States Patent and Trademark Office due to what Cowan allegedly termed a "conflict of interest."


 

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