David Boies’ firm resigned as Adelphia special counsel after it was learned that Boies’ family members owned a company that owned, through another company, a document management company Adelphia had hired on the Boies’ firm’s recommendation. Lest you think document management is small potatoes, Adelphia has paid $5-$10 million for its services.
The main Boies lawyer on the case says this was inadvertent. I assume that means they didn’t check fully enough for conflicts. I wonder if, on this assumption, the firm should be liable for malpractice, the damages being the extra fees and expenses incurred because of the need to switch counsel.
If the conflict was known, then there’s obviously a bigger problem. The Boies’ lawyer notes that the document management firm’s fees were approved by the Adelphia trustee and the bankruptcy court’s fee committee. But of course they didn’t know about the conflict.
Should it be criminal? Sounds like a run-of-the-mill conflict of interest, triggering civil damages. But you never know these days, do you? After all, the special counsel’s firm should be Caesar’s wife, shouldn’t it? With criminal penalties when Caesar’s wife has her hand in the cookie jar, so to speak? Of course this is just hypothetical. But then I wonder how they could have completely missed this conflict.
Originally posted by Prof. Larry Ribstein on Ideoblog