Acceleration

It’s Still Cookin’ in the County Hot Potato Case. A Letter is Issued to the Chief Judge Smashing the Sanctions Order

Magistrate Judge Harjani did not take into account the Hot Potato Doctrine which does not protect the Goodwin Procter lawyers violations.

LIT COMMENTARY

In LIT’s earlier article, Magistrate Judge Harjani did not take into account the ‘Hot Potato Doctrine’ which states quite clearly, even if the lawyers withdraw, it does not protect them from misconduct charges and sanctions.

The ‘Hot Potato’ Rule is a serious matter and Goodwin Law  and their attorneys Tom Hefferon, Matt Sheldon  et al should have been sanctioned.

The Burkes have fired a letter off to the Chief Judge Pallmeyer, putting her on notice not only re the hot potato doctrine but the related cases where Goodwin’s lawyers have acted above the law.

AS AT FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 2020 NO RESPONSE OR ACKNOWLEDGMENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED TO THE BURKE’s LETTER FROM PALLMEYER OR THE COURT.

The Burkes have not received acknowledgement nor response from Chief Judge Pallmeyer as at Oct. 1, 2020.

However, the Burkes had copies several State Bars where the lawyers for Goodwin Procter are members. DCBar responded by raising an ethics complaint against Matt Sheldon. Previously, the Burkes had file against Matt Sheldon in the Virginia State Bar, who wrongfully terminated the inquiry in violation of their own rules.

On Oct 1, 2020, the DCBar responded, also wrongfully terminating the inquiry in violation of their own rules.

Lets break it down.

“We reviewed the computer docket sheet in that case, and it appears that much of the docket is under protective order…”

This is not only false, it is absurd. This case and the sanctions against biglaw firm Goodwin made national press.  If much of the docket was under protective order, then how could the Burkes or journalists extrapolate the transcript of the hearing between Matt Sheldon and Judge Bucklo or read the fake “sham” affidavits of the former Bank of America/Countrywide staff as instigated by Goodwin?

“…and that you are not parties to the case.”

The Burkes are in litigation as detailed. The lawyers in that case are the same lawyers and law firm in the Illinois and Georgia Bank of America case (who are Goodwin’s clients). The Burkes caught Goodwin withholding evidence and committing perjury, conspiring with S.D. Fl. District Judge Ken Marra. That is relevant and related. To discount it entirely is obstruction of justice.

“At this time, we will not further investigation this matter. We will not second-guess the court’s decision. If the court later makes a finding that Mr. Sheldon engaged in misconduct and imposes sanctions, you may write to us again, including a copy of the court’s decision.”

This is in violation of your own rules, as the Burkes have discussed with several Bars. The simple response comes from Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa’s  own lips, while sitting as a Florida Supreme Court Justice. Watch the Video.

United States District Court
Northern District of Illinois – CM/ECF LIVE, Ver 6.3.3 (Chicago)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:14-cv-02280

County Of Cook v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo
Referred to: Honorable Sunil R. Harjani
Cause: 42:405 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 03/31/2014
Jury Demand: Both
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

 

Date Filed # Docket Text
08/25/2020 518 ORDER Signed by the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani on 8/25/2020: Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Goodwin Procter LLP 493 is denied. (See Order For Details) Mailed notice(lxs, ) (Entered: 08/25/2020)
08/25/2020 519 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: In light of the status hearing set before Magistrate Judge Harjani, Status hearing set for 8/28/2020 is stricken and reset for 11/19/2020 at 9:45 a.m. (to track the case only, no appearance is required). The parties shall file a joint written status report by 11/12/2020. The court will enter a scheduling order in response to the status report. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 08/25/2020)
08/27/2020 520 NOTICE by County Of Cook of Supplemental Authority (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Reynolds, J.) (Entered: 08/27/2020)
08/28/2020 521 NOTICE by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. (Joint Notice Concerning Continued Discovery Conferrals) (Swank, Levi) (Entered: 08/28/2020)
09/01/2020 522 RESPONSE by Defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. to notice of filing 520 (Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 09/01/2020)
09/21/2020 523 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: plaintiff’s motion to certify the June 15, 2020 order for interlocutory appeal Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) 501 is denied. Enter Order. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 09/21/2020)
09/21/2020 524 ORDER signed by the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo on 9/21/2020. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 09/21/2020)
09/29/2020 525 MOTION by Defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. for leave to file Amended Pleadings to State An Additional Affirmative Defense to the County’s Claims (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A- Defendants’ First Amended Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint)(Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 09/29/2020)
09/30/2020 526 STATUS Report (Joint Status Report Concerning Status of Completion of Fact Depositions and Case Schedule) by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. (Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 09/30/2020)
10/01/2020 527 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: Status hearing set for 10/22/2020 is stricken and reset to 11/12/2020 at 9:15 a.m. by telephone. The parties shall file a joint status report by 11/10/2020. The Court has reviewed the parties’ Status Report 526 . With the exception of the four remaining party depositions and three third-party depositions listed in the Status Report, fact discovery is closed. The parties’ request to adjust the case schedule to complete these remaining depositions due to health and/or availability reasons is granted. The Court enters the following updated discovery schedule: (1) fact discovery deadline is extended to 10/30/2020 for the sole purpose of completing the remaining depositions outlined in the Status Report; (2) Plaintiff’s expert reports due by 11/9/2020; (3) Defendants’ expert reports due by 12/18/2020; (4) Plaintiff’s rebuttal expert reports due by 1/13/2021; and (5) all expert discovery closes on 2/19/2021. No further extensions of the discovery schedule will be granted. The 3/31/2021 deadline to file dispositive motions stands. Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 10/01/2020)

Joanna & John Burke
46 Kingwood Greens Dr
Kingwood
TX 77339

2 September, 2020

Ref; Goodwin Procter LLP: Sanctions Motion

Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Eastern Division
Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604

cc.*    Goodwin Procter, LLP
Milberg Phillips Grossman LLP
Evangelista Worley LLC
Wexler Wallace
Senate Banking Committee
Virginia State Bar
D.C. Bar
Florida Bar
Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (19-13015)
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (19-20267 & 20-20209)

*The Texas Supreme Court has authorized electronic and social media as acceptable methods of substituted service.  E.g. (@SupremeCourt_TX on Twitter) amends Texas Rules of Civil Procedure to allow for service via social media: http://txcourts.gov/media/1449613/209103.pdf  As such, we will be issuing copies of this letter to parties and Senators listed above via social media, email and fax while the regular mail is in transit and to expedite notice to those parties.

Dear Judge Pallmeyer

County Of Cook v. Bank of America Corporation (1:14-cv-02280), District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

We refer to the Order Signed by the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani on 8/25/2020: “Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Goodwin Procter LLP 493 is denied. (See Order for Details, Doc. 518).

We respectfully wish to present evidence why this Order should be reconsidered and/or vacated while it is under reconsideration;

The newly appointed Magistrate Judge’s order completely ignored the ethics violations (including rule 1.7), which is referred to as the “hot potato doctrine”. This controls the sanctions requested. Instead, the magistrate went off on a tangent, which is erroneous and a manifest injustice to all parties seeking disqualification or sanctions in this case as well as others who are involved in similar ethical complaints against these rogue lawyers and firm nationwide (that would include ourselves).

An extract from our Bar complaint against Goodwin Procter attorney Matthew Sheldon, in part, explains;

“Mr. Sheldon, represented the Bank in the Illinois case and he was grilled by Judge Bucklo. See transcript from Dec. 5, 2019 hearing, which was submitted to Judge May in Georgia; Doc. 53.14, Cobb County v. Bank of America Corporation (1:15-cv-04081-LMM) District Court, N.D. Georgia). Here’s a snippet; “I really don’t understand how you can represent them.” – “I do find it DISTURBING.”- Judge Bucklo.

Once Mr. Sheldon left that hearing Goodwin promptly discarded the new witnesses (Doc. 83, March 25th, 2020) to fend for themself and after signing agreements to represent them.

The courts found that this meant the witness statements were moot [at this time]. While the Burkes dispute that opinion in law, the purpose of this complaint is the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Burkes now highlight the fact that ethically, the lawyer(s) actions are certainly not ‘moot’. Actually, in the Georgia action, Judge May has kept the ‘sanctions’ against Goodwin Procter, LLP, firmly on the table (Doc. 86, April 10th, 2020).

Furthermore, it was clear that the judges and all counsel recognized that these witnesses could be charged with perjury upon independent review. Goodwin dropped them faster than a hot potato but the ‘hot potato rule’ does not support that decision; Under the “hot potato” rule, a “‘law firm that knowingly undertakes adverse concurrent representation cannot avoid disqualification by withdrawing from the representation of the less favored client.’”  The “hot potato” rule reflects that the “duty of loyalty to an existing client is so important, so sacred, so inviolate that “not even by withdrawing from the relationship can an attorney evade it. See also; https://definitions.uslegal.com/h/hot-potato-rule/  and State Comp. Ins. Fund v. Drobot, 192 F. Supp. 3d 1080 (C.D. Cal. 2016).

See also; RESTATEMENT (THIRD) OF THE LAW GOVERNING LAWYERS.

The conference hearing by U.S. District Judge Bucklo, attended by Matt Sheldon of Goodwin is clear when she makes statements on the record supporting the ethical violations;

“I really don’t understand how you can represent them” and “I do find it disturbing” and – “And if there is a contradiction there, then it seems to me you do have a conflict.”.

The magistrate tries to deflect these statements as insignificant. That is error. It is axiomatic that the violation of Rule 1.7 cannot be corrected by Goodwin retracting from its position to avoid sanctions or other discipline.

Under the hot potato doctrine a law firm that knowingly undertakes adverse concurrent representation cannot avoid disqualification by withdrawing from the representation of the less favored client.

The hot potato doctrine reflects that the duty of loyalty to an existing client is so important, so sacred, so inviolate that not even withdrawing from the relationship can an attorney evade it.

See “Courts have noted that “a unilateral communications scheme . . . is rife with potential for coercion.”  Kleiner v. The First Nat’l Bank of Atlanta, 751 F.2d 1193, 1202  (11th Cir. 1985)”.  This is also affirmed by the expert report and declaration of Professor Roy D. Simon, Jr., an expert in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

“Prima facie evidence exists that Goodwin Procter suborned perjury from the confidential witnesses by obtaining false declarations under penalty of perjury and, by analogy to the “sham affidavit doctrine…”

Whilst Judge Elaine Bucklo ultimately decided the sanctions motion was moot, which is questionable in itself because you cannot ‘moot’ this type of violation of ethics per the hot potato doctrine, this sentiment was not echoed in the related case Cook case in Georgia. Judge Leigh Martin May decided the sanctions were open to being reconsidered at a later time, if necessary. See; Cobb County v. Bank of America Corporation (1:15-CV-04081) District Court, N.D. Georgia.

Judge Bucklo’s order in this regard is worth detailing;

“Disqualification of counsel is denied as moot, based on Goodwin Procter’s withdrawal from representation of witnesses and the protections put in place by the assigned magistrate judge.”

Judge Bucklo’s statement here is vague and while ‘the protections put in place’ are not specified, we wish to alert this honorable court that despite any and all protections that may be in place in “this” case, it has not stopped Goodwin Procter LLP acting as a rogue, win at all costs, biglaw firm that believes itself and the attorneys who represent them are “above the law (and this would include  any and all professional ethical violations)”. This should be a mistaken belief. See; El Camino Resources, Ltd. v. Huntington National Bank, 623 F. Supp. 2d 863 (W.D. Mich. 2007).

We have been litigating in a case where we were denied intervention in S.D. Fl. Court by Judge Ken Marra. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. OCWEN Financial Corporation, Inc. (9:17-cv-80495) District Court, S.D. Florida.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (#19-13015), we became aware of irrefutable evidence that both Judge Marra and Ocwen’s lawyers, comprising of several Goodwin Procter lawyers, including the 4 Goodwin lawyers the Burkes have complained of, namely Matt Sheldon, Tom Hefferon, Sabrina Rose Smith or Rose-Smith and Catalina Azuero. They are listed as counsel in the Cook County case discussed herein, and these lawyers conspired to withhold evidence in order to illegally deny the Burkes intervention all the while committed repeated perjury in filings both at the lower and appellate courts.

As stated, the case is on appeal and the Burkes have filed a judicial complaint against Senior U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra and 4 bar complaints against Goodwin lawyers, namely Matthew Sheldon (Virginia Bar, no case number), Thomas Hefferon (Virginia Bar, no case number), Sabrina Rose-Smith or Rose Smith (D.C. Bar, Undocketed No. 2020-U481) and Catalina Azuero (Florida Bar, #21-112).

Goodwin Procter have a system of lying and being unethical in recent court cases as identified and they also have a recorded history of ethical violations as well. Here’s 2 historic examples and a newly discovered unauthorized practice of law violation;

Plaintiff George Haseotes filed suit derivatively on behalf of Cumberland Farms after he learned that Boston’s Goodwin Procter had racked up a seven-figure tab by assigning 34 lawyers — billing at rates of up to $825 an hour — to work on a potential sale of the company. – an ‘ethical’ violation – Mass. rule of Prof. responsibility 1.5 prohibits a lawyer from charging excessive or illegal fees.

See; https://newenglandinhouse.com/2013/01/16/cumberland-farms-shareholder-slaps-firm-with-legal-mal-suit/

An arbitrator has found the law firm Goodwin Procter overcharged a real estate client by more than $540,000 in a rare showdown over the billing procedures used by many of Boston’s largest and most prominent legal practices. The arbitrator, Jeffrey Martin, ruled Goodwin submitted “vague’’ invoices to Northland Investment Corp., failed to provide a promised discount, and used too many of its attorneys to bill for the same legal tasks. As a result, Martin ordered Goodwin to cut its $1.1 million invoice by 55 percent. See; https://archive.boston.com/business/articles/2010/12/10/540000_overcharge_sheds_light_on_law_firm_bills/

Alexis Susan Coll of Goodwin Procter, LLP appears to have practiced law while unauthorized to do so. Her State Bar of California membership is in her maiden name of Coll, but her business name has been Coll-Very for nearly 3 decades. (That’s just wrong). There’s also a couple of recent suspensions and breaks in membership that indicate she could have been involved in the unauthorized practice of law during that time.

Billing records would confirm the violations but certainly it would appear to be the case, looking at the In re Twitter Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 16-cv-05314-JST (N.D. Cal. July 16, 2018) as an example, she was counsel of record during the time in 2019 when her State Bar license was inactive and filings into the case were being made. No change of status regarding her removal from this case is recorded during the period.

Note; We have not filed any complaint against Ms. Coll regarding our discovery, however, it will be interesting to see if this court or any of the copied parties, who are mostly lawyers, as part of their ethical duties outlined in (e) below, will report this violation. See;

“When an attorney discovers a possible ethical violation concerning a matter before a court, he is not only authorized but is in fact obligated to bring the problem to that court’s attention. See Estates Theatres, Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 345 F. Supp. 93, 98 (S.D.N.Y. 1972). ” In re Gopman, 531 F.2d 262, 265 (5th Cir. 1976)

A former Goodwin Procter Lawyer, Associate Professor Luke M. Scheuer previously held adjunct positions at Boston College Law School, the University of Massachusetts School of Law, and Boston University School of Law where he taught advanced legal skills courses on contract and corporate drafting.

Before teaching, he held a judicial clerkship in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and also worked as a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston.

The following 2010 article confirms our belief that the lawyers at Goodwin Procter LLP involved in the Burkes case in CFPB v. Ocwen in Fl. should have reported attorney fraud, if they were not the author of the motions filed in that case. They did not do so. This is clear error. See “Duty to Report Attorney Misconduct” (2010); Available at: https://works.bepress.com/luke_scheuer/2/

Relief Requested:

Vacation of the Order and/or Reconsideration of the sanctions motion based on the erroneous order by the magistrate judge who ignored the hot potato doctrine completely in his 4-pronged summary argument denying the sanctions motion.

See: “This Court is fully aware of the “changes” in the “legal world” and attempts to stay abreast of them and deal with cases in an up-to-date fashion. Keeping that in mind, however, does not somehow lead this Court to believe that “changes” also mean adopting a set of principles and ethics for “mega corporations” and “monster law firms” which is something less than that imposed on small companies and lesser-size law firms.

Rule 1.7 stands as is for everyone.

This Court notes that, if anything, large law firms have an even greater responsibility to incorporate satisfactory computer conflicts check systems simply because of their size and the fact the lawyers in these firms are not able to manually check their client lists for potential conflicts.”

Lemelson v. Apple Computer, Inc., 28 U.S.P.Q.2d at 1419

(rejecting SWS’s approach of a size- dependent application of ethical rules regarding disqualification).

Furthermore, and based on related cases as identified herein, it is irrefutable that Goodwin Procter LLP has implemented a known system of fraud in law suits in federal courts nationwide. This should be investigated at the highest level and reported to the respective Bars and Agencies. See; LR83.50. Rules of Professional Conduct, in part; a lawyer not admitted to practice in Illinois is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state in which the lawyer’s principal office is located.

Summary:

In recap, in light of the above, we believe that disqualification of Goodwin Procter’s lawyers should be mandatory (See; In re Discipline of Ray, 2019 WL 3082523, at *9. “Given the district court’s detailed analysis that is supported by the record and this court’s holding in Hernandez, 907 F.3d 365-66, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Ray’s disbarment. See Mole, 822 F.3d at 801. Ray’s secondary argument that the district court erred in failing to consider a lesser sanction is also meritless.”).

Not only have they acted unethically in this case, they have also repeated these unethical acts in our case, CFPB v. Ocwen in S.D. Fl. See; Rule 3.03(a)(1) (prohibiting lawyers from “knowingly making false statements of material fact or law to a tribunal”), Rule 3.03(a)(5) (prohibiting lawyers from knowingly offering false evidence), Rule 8.04(a)(3) (prohibiting lawyers from “engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation”). – Case #18-0879, Supreme Court of Texas, 25th October, 2019, Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Mark A. Cantu.

The cases in question are live and ongoing. What is alarming is the fact these unethical lawyers at Goodwin are still counsel of record and still very active on the docket(s). It is unacceptable based on the information presented herein. They should be disqualified. In our circuit, the Fifth Circuit has stated District courts are “obliged to take measures against unethical conduct occurring in connection with any proceeding before it.” – In re Am. Airlines, 972 F.2d 605, 61 I (5th Cir. 1992) (quoting Woods v. Covington County Bank, 537 F.2d 804,810 (5th Cir. 1992)).

We also respectfully request any Orders be noticed to ourselves as we are involved in related live controversies and cases, including judicial and ethical complaints as discussed above.

Public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary is promoted when judges take appropriate action based on reliable information of likely misconduct. Appropriate action depends on the circumstances, but the overarching goal of such action should be to prevent harm to those affected by the misconduct and to prevent recurrence. See Code of Conduct for United States Judges, Canon 3B(6) & cmt.

We kindly ask that you take appropriate action here.

Respectfully,

I, Joanna Burke, declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

September 2, 2020, Kingwood, Texas.

Joanna Burke
46 Kingwood Greens Dr., Kingwood 77339 TX
Email; kajongwe@gmail.com

I, John Burke, declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

September 2, 2020, Kingwood, Texas.

John Burke
46 Kingwood Greens Dr., Kingwood 77339 TX
Email; alsation123@gmail.com

Hyperlinks to documents relevant to this letter;

DC Bar Complaint (Rose Smith or Rose-Smith)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvIdtQ5ExRHkub5AgcuEuVrFLgQaoQ

Virginia Bar Complaint (Hefferon)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvIdtQ5ExRHkub4-0pNAoIS-5D1okg

Virginia Bar Complaint (Sheldon)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvIdtQ5ExRHkub4_s5pDxzqqdrcCZg

Florida Bar Complaint (Azuero)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvIdtQ5ExRHkub5B56iwbb7oh5msdQ

11th Cir. Judicial Complaint (Marra)

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AvIdtQ5ExRHkub5CbEpXaaSPDv2Kjw

Docket for case County Of Cook v. Bank of America Corporation (1:14-cv-02280)
District Court, N.D. Illinois

United States District Court
Northern District of Illinois – CM/ECF LIVE, Ver 6.3.3 (Chicago)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:14-cv-02280

County Of Cook v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo
Referred to: Honorable Sunil R. Harjani
Cause: 42:405 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 03/31/2014
Jury Demand: Both
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

Date Entered # Docket Text

08/25/2020 519 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: In light of the status hearing set before Magistrate Judge Harjani, Status hearing set for 8/28/2020 is stricken and reset for 11/19/2020 at 9:45 a.m. (to track the case only, no appearance is required). The parties shall file a joint written status report by 11/12/2020. The court will enter a scheduling order in response to the status report. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 08/25/2020)

08/25/2020 518 ORDER Signed by the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani on 8/25/2020: Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Goodwin Procter LLP 493 is denied. (See Order For Details) Mailed notice(lxs, ) (Entered: 08/25/2020)

08/24/2020 517 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: Status hearing set for 8/27/20 is reset to 10/22/2020 at 9:15 a.m. by telephone. Status report due is due by 10/16/2020. The Court has reviewed the parties’ joint status report 516 . Written discovery is closed but the parties have asked that the deadline to complete depositions be extended to September 30, 2020. Given the parties’ significant amount of work in moving discovery forward over the last few months, the Court will grant an extension to complete depositions to September 30, 2020. All remaining dates stand. The Court will issue a written ruling on the pending motion for sanctions 493 in the near future. Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 08/24/2020)

08/21/2020 516 STATUS Report (Joint) by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. (Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 08/21/2020)
08/19/2020 515 NOTICE by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. Supplemental Declaration of Justin A. Dahl (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 08/19/2020)

08/17/2020 514 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: Motion to appear pro hac vice 513 is granted. Mailed notice (reg) (Entered: 08/17/2020)
08/15/2020 513 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 150, receipt number 0752-17321744. (Briggs, Carleton) (Entered: 08/15/2020)
08/03/2020 512 REPLY by County Of Cook to response in opposition to motion, 507 , MOTION by Plaintiff County Of Cook for leave to appeal the 6/15/20 Order 501 (Evangelista, James) (Entered: 08/03/2020)

07/30/2020 511 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: Motions to appear pro hac vice 508 509 are granted. Mailed notice <Attachments (reg) (Entered: 07/30/2020)

07/28/2020 510 REPLY by Plaintiff County Of Cook to motion for sanctions, 493 Reply Memorandum in Further Support of of its Motion (Wexler, Kenneth) (Entered: 07/28/2020)

07/24/2020 509 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 150, receipt number 0752-17248370. (Perry, Alan) (Entered: 07/24/2020)

07/23/2020 508 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 150, receipt number 0752-17244574. (Toran, Leslie) (Entered: 07/23/2020)

07/20/2020 507 RESPONSE by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.in Opposition to MOTION by Plaintiff County Of Cook for leave to appeal the 6/15/20 Order 501 (Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 07/20/2020)
07/14/2020 506 RESPONSE by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.in Opposition to MOTION by Plaintiff County Of Cook for sanctions against Goodwin Procter LLP and Memorandum in of Law in Support Thereof 493 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 07/14/2020)

07/14/2020 505 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: At the parties’ request, the court sets the agreed briefing schedule on plaintiff’s motion to certify the June 15, 2020 order for interlocutory appeal Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) 501 as follows: Defendants to respond by 7/20/2020. Plaintiff to reply by 8/3/2020. Ruling before Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo on 9/11/2020 at 9:45 a.m. (to track the case only, no appearance is required). Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 07/14/2020)

07/10/2020 504 ORDER Fifth Amended General Order 20-0012 IN RE: CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 PUBLIC EMERGENCY Signed by the Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer on July 10, 2020. This Order does not extend or modify any deadlines set in civil cases. No motions may be noticed for in-person presentment; the presiding judge will notify parties of the need, if any, for a hearing by electronic means or in-court proceeding. See attached Order. Signed by the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer on 7/10/2020: Mailed notice. (Clerk3, Docket) (Entered: 07/10/2020)

06/30/2020 503 STATUS Report (Joint) Concerning DKT. No. 497 by BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Bank FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Captial Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. (Sheldon, Matthew) (Entered: 06/30/2020)

06/22/2020 502 NOTICE of Motion by James M. Evangelista for presentment of motion for leave to appeal 501 before Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo on 7/15/2020 at 09:45 AM. (Evangelista, James) (Entered: 06/22/2020)

06/22/2020 501 MOTION by Plaintiff County Of Cook for leave to appeal the 6/15/20 Order (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum of Law in Support)(Evangelista, James) (Entered: 06/22/2020)

06/16/2020 500 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: At counsel’s request, Defendants’ response to Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions Against Goodwin Procter LLP 493 is due by 7/14/2020; reply is due by 7/28/2020.Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 06/16/2020)

06/15/2020 499 ORDER signed by the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo on 6/15/2020. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 06/15/2020)

06/15/2020 498 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: Plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint and memorandum of law in support thereof 481 is denied. Enter Order. Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Goodwin Procter LLP and memorandum of law in support thereof 493 is referred to Magistrate Judge Harjani. Motion hearing set for 7/15/2020 is stricken and is to be re-noticed before the assigned magistrate judge. Mailed notice. (mgh, ) (Entered: 06/15/2020)

06/15/2020 497 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: The Court has reviewed the County’s settlement offer and the Defendants’ response. Counsel for both parties are ordered to meet and confer by telephone, discuss the letters, and determine whether they wish to continue settlement discussions. As it currently stands, the Court does not see that a settlement conference with the Court would be worthwhile given the current positions, but the parties are to discuss whether they wish to engage in further letter exchanges with revised offers and responses to narrow the gap. The parties shall submit a status report with an update on the meet and confer conference by June 30, 2020. Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 06/15/2020)

06/11/2020 496 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: Status hearing set for 8/27/20 at 9:15 a.m. by telephone, at this time, for case tracking purposes. The Court will enter a separate order if an appearance is necessary after viewing the status report due 8/21/20. Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 06/11/2020)

06/10/2020 495 REPLY by Plaintiff County Of Cook to motion to amend/correct,, 481 Plaintiff’s Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Amend Complaint (Wexler, Kenneth) (Entered: 06/10/2020)

United States District Court
Northern District of Illinois – CM/ECF LIVE, Ver 6.3.3 (Chicago)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:14-cv-02280

County Of Cook v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo
Referred to: Honorable Sunil R. Harjani
Cause: 42:405 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 03/31/2014
Jury Demand: Both
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

 

Date Entered # Docket Text
10/13/2020 530 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Elaine E. Bucklo: Motions to appear pro hac vice 528 529 are granted. Mailed notice (reg) (Entered: 10/13/2020)
10/05/2020 529 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 150, receipt number 0752-17509418. (Smith, Leigh) (Entered: 10/05/2020)
10/02/2020 528 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Filing fee $ 150, receipt number 0752-17502642. (Hughes, John) (Entered: 10/02/2020)
10/01/2020 527 MINUTE entry before the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani: Status hearing set for 10/22/2020 is stricken and reset to 11/12/2020 at 9:15 a.m. by telephone. The parties shall file a joint status report by 11/10/2020. The Court has reviewed the parties’ Status Report 526 . With the exception of the four remaining party depositions and three third-party depositions listed in the Status Report, fact discovery is closed. The parties’ request to adjust the case schedule to complete these remaining depositions due to health and/or availability reasons is granted. The Court enters the following updated discovery schedule: (1) fact discovery deadline is extended to 10/30/2020 for the sole purpose of completing the remaining depositions outlined in the Status Report; (2) Plaintiff’s expert reports due by 11/9/2020; (3) Defendants’ expert reports due by 12/18/2020; (4) Plaintiff’s rebuttal expert reports due by 1/13/2021; and (5) all expert discovery closes on 2/19/2021. No further extensions of the discovery schedule will be granted. The 3/31/2021 deadline to file dispositive motions stands. Mailed notice (lxs, ) (Entered: 10/01/2020)

This Court is fully aware of the “changes” in the “legal world” and attempts to stay abreast of them and deal with cases in an up-to-date fashion. Keeping that in mind, however, does not somehow lead this Court to believe that “changes” also mean adopting a set of principles and ethics for “mega corporations” and “monster law firms” which is something less than that imposed on small companies and lesser-size law firms.

Rule 1.7 stands as is for everyone.

This Court notes that, if anything, large law firms have an even greater responsibility to incorporate satisfactory computer conflicts check systems simply because of their size and the fact the lawyers in these firms are not able to manually check their client lists for potential conflicts.

Lemelson v. Apple Computer, Inc., 28 U.S.P.Q.2d at 1419

(rejecting SWS’s approach of a size- dependent application of ethical rules regarding disqualification).

Docket for related case Cobb County v. Bank of America Corporation (1:15-cv-04081)
District Court, N.D. Georgia

U.S. District Court
Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:15-cv-04081-LMM

Cobb County et al v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Judge Leigh Martin May
Cause: 42:3601 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 11/20/2015
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

Date Entered # Docket Text

08/04/2020 96 SIXTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONAVIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 08/03/2020. (mmc) (ADI) (Entered: 08/04/2020)

07/13/2020 95 FIFTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONAVIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 7/10/2020 (rvb) (ADI) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

07/02/2020 94 FOURTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONA VIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 07/01/2020. (mmc) (ADI) (Entered: 07/02/2020)

06/26/2020 93 RESPONSE re 92 Notice (Other),, filed by Cobb County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Georgia. (Evangelista, James) (Entered: 06/26/2020)

06/12/2020 92 NOTICE by BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. re 81 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A – 06-01-2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision from the case, Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A.)(Custer, William) (Entered: 06/12/2020)

U.S. District Court
Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:15-cv-04081-LMM

Cobb County et al v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Judge Leigh Martin May
Cause: 42:3601 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 11/20/2015
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

 

Date Entered # Docket Text
08/28/2020 97 NOTICE by Cobb County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Georgia re 87 Response in Opposition to Motion of Supplemental Authority (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A (Opinion City of Oakland v. Wells Fargo & Co.,))(Evangelista, James) (Entered: 08/28/2020)

U.S. District Court
Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:15-cv-04081-LMM

Cobb County et al v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Judge Leigh Martin May
Cause: 42:3601 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 11/20/2015
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question

Date Entered # Docket Text

08/04/2020 96 SIXTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONAVIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 08/03/2020. (mmc) (ADI) (Entered: 08/04/2020)

07/13/2020 95 FIFTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONAVIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 7/10/2020 (rvb) (ADI) (Entered: 07/13/2020)

07/02/2020 94 FOURTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONA VIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 07/01/2020. (mmc) (ADI) (Entered: 07/02/2020)

06/26/2020 93 RESPONSE re 92 Notice (Other),, filed by Cobb County, DeKalb County, Fulton County, Georgia. (Evangelista, James) (Entered: 06/26/2020)

06/12/2020 92 NOTICE by BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. re 81 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A – 06-01-2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision from the case, Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A.)(Custer, William) (Entered: 06/12/2020)

U.S. District Court
Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:15-cv-04081-LMM

Cobb County et al v. Bank of America Corporation et al
Assigned to: Judge Leigh Martin May
Cause: 42:3601 Fair Housing Act
Date Filed: 11/20/2015
Jury Demand: Both
Nature of Suit: 443 Civil Rights: Accommodations
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Plaintiff
Cobb County represented by David James Worley
Evangelista Worley, LLC
500 Sugar Mill Road
Suite 245a
Atlanta, GA 30350
404-205-8400
Fax: 404-205-8395
Email: david@ewlawllc.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEzra Salami
Milberg Phillips Grossman LLP
Suite 1920
One Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10119
212-594-5300
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHezekiah Sistrunk , Jr.
The Cochran Firm – Atlanta
Suite 2600/ The Equitable Building
100 Peachtree Street N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-222-9922
Fax: 404-222-0170
Email: hez@sistrunklaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDJames M. Evangelista
Evangelista Worley LLC
500 Sugar Mill Road
Suite 245a
Atlanta, GA 30350
404-205-8400
Email: jim@ewlawllc.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jeffrey Emery Tompkins
Thomas Kennedy Sampson & Tompkins, LLP
3355 Main Street
Atlanta, GA 30337
404-688-4503
Email: j.tompkins@tkstlaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jennifer Sarah Czeisler
Milberg LLP-NY
One Pennsylvania Plaza
50th Floor
New York, NY 10119-0165
212-594-5300
Email: jczeisler@milberg.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Shean DeCarlos Williams
The Cochran Firm – Atlanta
Suite 2600/ The Equitable Building
100 Peachtree Street N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-222-9922
Fax: 404-222-0170
Email: SWilliams@cochranfirmatl.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas G. Sampson
Thomas Kennedy Sampson & Tompkins, LLP
3355 Main Street
Atlanta, GA 30337
404-688-4503
Email: t.sampson@tkstlaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Alan R. Perry , Jr.
Page Perry
1493 LaVista Rd., NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
404-567-4400
Fax: 770-673-0120
Email: aperry@pageperry.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Kristi Stahnke McGregor
Evangelista Worley LLC
500 Sugar Mill Road
Suite 245a
Atlanta, GA 30350
404-205-8400
Fax: 404-205-8395
Email: kristi@ewlawllc.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Plaintiff
DeKalb County represented by David James Worley
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEzra Salami
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHezekiah Sistrunk , Jr.
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDJames M. Evangelista
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jeffrey Emery Tompkins
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jennifer Sarah Czeisler
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Shean DeCarlos Williams
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas G. Sampson
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Kristi Stahnke McGregor
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Plaintiff
Fulton County, Georgia represented by David James Worley
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEzra Salami
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHezekiah Sistrunk , Jr.
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDJames M. Evangelista
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jeffrey Emery Tompkins
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Jennifer Sarah Czeisler
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Shean DeCarlos Williams
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas G. Sampson
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Kristi Stahnke McGregor
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

V.
Defendant
Bank of America Corporation represented by Andrew Kim
Goodwin Procter LLP-DC
1900 N. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-346-4000
Email: andrewkim@goodwinlaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
Edwin Cook Law, LLC
50 Hurt Plaza SE
Suite 1140
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-465-3426
Fax: 404-465-3426
Email: edwin@edwincooklaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
Goodwin Procter LLP-DC
1900 N. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-346-4000
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
Goodwin Procter LLP
1900 N Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
202-346-4000
Fax: 202-346-4444
Email: MSheldon@goodwinlaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
Goodwin Procter LLP
1900 N St. NW
Washington, DC 02236
617-570-1000
Email: thefferon@goodwinlaw.com
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP – ATL
One Atlantic Center, 14th Floor
1201 West Peachtree St., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309-3471
404-572-6672
Email: leah.schultz@bclplaw.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP – ATL
One Atlantic Center, 14th Floor
1201 West Peachtree St., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309-3471
404-572-6600
Fax: 404-572-6999
Email: bill.custer@bclplaw.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Bank of America, N.A. represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Countrywide Financial Corporation represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Countrywide Bank, FSB represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc. represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Defendant
Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. represented by Andrew Kim
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEdwin Montgomery Cook
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDHenry C. Dinger
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDMatthew S. Sheldon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Thomas M. Hefferon
(See above for address)
LEAD ATTORNEY
PRO HAC VICE
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Leah Amelia Schultz
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

William Vance Custer , IV
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Date Filed # Docket Text
09/02/2020 98 SEVENTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19 AND RELATED CORONAVIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 9/1/2020. (rvb) (ADI) (Entered: 09/02/2020)
09/09/2020 99 RESPONSE re 97 Notice (Other) filed by BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.. (Custer, William) (Entered: 09/09/2020)
09/18/2020 100 ORDER: Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss 81 is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The Court DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss as it relates to Plaintiffs’ disparate impact claims, property tax injuries, foreclosure processing injuries, lack of standing, timely filing of FHA discrimination claims, and non-economic injuries. The Court also DENIES Defendants’ Motion as it relates to the dismissal of Defendants Countrywide Home Loans., Inc., Countywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital, Inc., and Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc. The Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss as to Plaintiffs’ municipal services and franchise tax injury claims. Signed by Judge Leigh Martin May on 9/18/2020. (tmf) (Entered: 09/18/2020)
09/23/2020 101 NOTICE of Appearance by Alan R. Perry, Jr on behalf of Cobb County (Perry, Alan) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
09/28/2020 102 Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer to Plaitniffs’ Second Amended Complaint by Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.. (Schultz, Leah) (Entered: 09/28/2020)
09/29/2020 103 EIGHTH AMENDMENT TO GENERAL ORDER 20-01 RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID19 AND RELATED CORONA VIRUS. Signed by Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. on 09/28/2020. (rvb) (ADI) (Entered: 09/29/2020)
09/29/2020 104 ORDER – Defendants’ motion for an extension of time is hereby GRANTED. Defendants shall file their Answer to the Second Amended Complaint by no later than October 16, 2020. Signed by Judge Leigh Martin May on 9/29/2020. (tcc) (Entered: 09/29/2020)
10/16/2020 105 ANSWER to 61 Amended Complaint by BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.. Discovery ends on 3/15/2021.(Custer, William) Please visit our website at http://www.gand.uscourts.gov to obtain Pretrial Instructions. (Entered: 10/16/2020)
10/16/2020 106 MOTION for Appeal under 1292(b) with Brief In Support by BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Bank, FSB, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Warehouse Lending, LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc., Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Brief Memorandum of Law in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Custer, William) (Entered: 10/16/2020)

No. 12-53023

United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division.

In re Ralph Roberts Realty, LLC, 500 B.R. 862 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2013)

Decided Mar 18, 2013

Kelley Callard (UST), United States Trustee, Detroit, MI, for U.S. Trustee. Gerald L. Decker, Sterling Heights, MI, for Respondent.

THOMAS J. TUCKER

Kelley Callard (UST), United States Trustee, Detroit, MI, for U.S. Trustee. Gerald L. Decker, Sterling Heights, MI, for Respondent.

Michael P. DiLaura, Mt. Clemens, MI, John C. Lange, Gold, Lange & Majoros, PC, Hannah Mufson McCollum, Southfield, MI, for Ralph Roberts Realty, LLC (Debtor in Possession).

OPINION REGARDING DEBTORS’ MOTION TO DISQUALIFY MADDIN, HAUSER, WARTELL ROTH & HELLER, P.C. AS COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS JON SAVOY, ET AL.

THOMAS J. TUCKER, Bankruptcy Judge.

The Debtors in these jointly-administered Chapter 11 cases are Ralph R. Roberts*864 (“Roberts”) and Ralph Roberts Realty, LLC (“Realty”). They filed their bankruptcy petitions on May 25, 2012, and obtained confirmation of their joint plan of reorganization on February 11, 2 Roberts and Realty have filed a motion asking the Court to disqualify a law firm—Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, P.C. (“Maddin Hauser”)—from representing the defendants in an adversary proceeding that Realty has filed, Ralph Roberts Realty, LLC v. Savoy, et al., Adv. No. 12–6131 (the “Savoy AP”).3

2 The confirmation order was filed on February 11, 2013 (Docket # 225).
3 “Debtors’ Motion to Disqualify Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, C. as Counsel for Defendants Jon Savoy, et al.” (Docket # 189, the “Motion”).

The Court held an initial hearing on the Motion on January 23, 2013, and granted the parties leave to conduct discovery. The Court then held an evidentiary hearing on March 14, 2013, and took the Motion under advisement.

The Court has reviewed and considered the Motion, the response filed to the Motion, all of the testimony and exhibits presented in the evidentiary hearing, 4 the complaint filed on December 11, 2012 by Realty in the Savoy AP, and the arguments of counsel. For the reasons stated in this opinion, the Court will grant the Debtors’ Motion, and disqualify Maddin Hauser.

4 The exhibits admitted into evidence were Debtors’ Exhibits A through Z and AA.

This opinion states the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, regarding the Motion.

A.  Overview

“Ethical rules involving attorneys practicing in the federal courts are ultimately questions of federal law. The federal courts, however, are entitled to look to the state rules of professional conduct for guidance.” El Camino Res., Ltd. v. Huntington Nat’l Bank, 623 F.Supp.2d 863, 876 (W.D.Mich.2007) (citations omitted).

In their arguments and evidentiary presentations, the parties in this case have assumed that if Maddin Hauser and its attorneys are prohibited by one or more of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct from representing the adversary proceeding defendants, then this Court should disqualify Maddin Hauser and its attorneys from such representation.

The Court agrees with that assumption, and will focus on the particular Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct that Roberts and Realty rely on in seeking disqualification.

B.  “Former client” and Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(a)

Roberts and Realty rely in part on Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(a). That rule states:

(a) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client consents after consultation.

Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(a)(sometimes referred to below as “Rule 1.9(a))”.

On and before May 17, 2012, and over a number of years, attorney John Jacobs (“Jacobs”) and his firm, Maddin Hauser,5 did legal work for Roberts and Realty, from time to time and on a number of different matters.

During the time period *865 from May 18, 2012 6 until November 2, 2012, Roberts and Realty were not clients of Jacobs or Maddin Rather, during this time period Roberts and Realty each was a “former client” of Jacobs and Maddin Hauser, within the meaning of Rule 1.9(a). And during this time period (from May 18, 2012 until November 2, 2012) Jacobs and Maddin Hauser had “formerly represented” Roberts and Realty as their attorneys, within the meaning of Rule 1.9(a).

5 Jacobs is, and for more than 10 years has been, an attorney employed by Maddin Hauser.
6 May 17, 2012 is the last day before November 2, 2012 that Jacobs or Maddin Hauser did any legal work for, or gave legal advice to, or agreed to do any legal work for or give legal advice to, either Roberts or Realty. See, e.g., Debtors’ Ex. AA, second page.

On December 11, 2012, Realty filed an adversary proceeding in this Court against Jon Savoy and several other defendants—the Savoy AP—which remains pending. In its adversary complaint, Realty alleges breaches of contract by the defendants, and seeks declaratory relief and monetary relief of “not less than $100,500.” 7

7 See (Docket # 1 in the Savoy AP).

On December 20, 2012, two attorneys employed by Maddin Hauser, Michael S. Leib and Ian S. Bolton, each filed a notice of appearance in the Savoy AP,8 as an attorney for all the defendants. Attorneys Leib and Bolton, and Maddin Hauser, today still are attorneys of record for all of the defendants in the Savoy AP. The Savoy AP defendants have not yet filed an answer or other substantive response to Realty’s complaint. Currently, the defendants have a stipulated extension of time until April 1, 2013 to file a response to the complaint.9

8 Docket 4, 5 in the Savoy AP.
9 Docket # 9 in the Savoy AP.

Contrary to Roberts’s and Realty’s contention, none of the matters in which Jacobs or Maddin Hauser formerly represented Roberts or Realty before November 2, 2012 were the “same” matter as, or a “substantially related matter” to, the matter of the Savoy AP, as the phrases “same … matter” and “substantially related matter” are used in Rule 1.9(a).

As a result, there is no basis for disqualification, under Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(a), of Maddin Hauser as counsel for any of the defendants in the Savoy AP.

C.  Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(c)

Roberts and Realty rely in part on Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(c) as a basis for disqualification of Maddin Hauser, but such reliance is misplaced. That rule states:

(c) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter or whose present or former firm has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(1) use information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client except as Rule 1.6 or Rule 3.3 would permit or require with respect to a client, or when the information has become generally known; or

(2) reveal information relating to the representation except as Rule 1.6 or Rule 3.3 would permit or require with respect to a

Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(c).

This rule does not itself limit what clients an attorney may represent; rather, it merely places limits on what information an attorney may use or reveal. See, e.g., Sykes v. Matter, 316 F.Supp.2d 630, 636 (M.D.Tenn.2004) (discussing Rule 1.9(c) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct, which contains language similar to Rule 1.9(c) of the Michigan Rules of Professional*866 Conduct)(“[S]ubsection (c) of Rule 1.9 is an admonition against the use of confidential information, not a prohibition against representation or a basis for disqualification independent of Rule 9(a).”).

There is no evidence that Jacobs or any other attorney employed by Maddin Hauser has violated, or is likely in the future to violate, Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(c), with respect to any former representation of Roberts or Realty. As a result, there is no basis for disqualification of Maddin Hauser under Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.9(c).

D.  Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.7(a) and 1.10(a)

Roberts and Realty also rely on Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.7(a), which states:

(a) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless:

(1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and

(2) each client consents after consultation.

Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.7(a)(sometimes referred to below as “Rule 1.7(a)”).

On Friday, November 2, 2012, Roberts spoke to Jacobs and requested that Jacobs provide Roberts with legal advice, relating to the federal law known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, also known as the SAFE Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5101, et seq., and regulations under that Act, promulgated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 C.F.R. Parts 30 and 3400.10

10 See, e.g., Debtors’ Ex. A, first page and its attachment.

Sometime during the time period November 2 through November 8, 2012, but in any event not later than November 8, 2012, Jacobs agreed to review the SAFE Act and provide Roberts with legal advice on this subject.11

11 See, e.g., Debtors’ Ex. B.

As a result, beginning no later than November 8, 2012, Jacobs and Roberts had a current attorney-client relationship, with respect to the SAFE Act matter.

Such attorney-client relationship existed, even though the parties made no written agreement for legal services. See Macomb Cnty. Taxpayers Ass’n v. L’Anse Creuse Pub. Sch., 455 Mich. 1, 564 N.W.2d 457, 462 (1997).12 And such attorney-client relationship existed despite the fact that at the time, Roberts and Realty were each debtors in pending Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, and never sought or obtained approval of this Court in their bankruptcy cases to employ Jacobs for any purpose, *867 under 11 S.C. § 327(a) or 327(e) and Fed.R.Bankr.P.2014(a).13

12 In the Macomb Cnty Taxpayers Ass’n case, for example, the Michigan Supreme Court quoted and expressly agreed with the following passage from 7 Am.Jur.3d, Attorneys at Law:
[T]he relation of attorney and client is not dependent on the payment of a fee, nor is a formal contract necessary to create this relationship. The contract may be implied from conduct of the parties. The employment is sufficiently established when it is shown that the advice and assistance of the attorney are sought and received in matters pertinent to his profession.
564 N.W.2d at 462. As noted above, the Court has found that Roberts sought legal advice from Jacobs on November 2, 2012, and that Jacobs agreed to provide it. This oral agreement clearly is sufficient under Michigan law to create an attorney-client relationship.
13 Maddin Hauser has not argued this as a basis for finding that no attorney-client relationship existed between Roberts and Jacobs. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy debtor’s failure to obtain bankruptcy court approval of the employment of a professional may ultimately result in the professional going See, e.g., In re Visicon Shareholders Trust, 478 B.R. 292, 320 (Bankr.S.D.Ohio 2012) (requiring a Chapter 11 debtor’s accountant to disgorge all unauthorized fees paid to him). But the Court has found no case holding that such a failure means that no attorney-client relationship existed, for purposes of the ethical rules governing attorney conduct.

There is no evidence that such attorney-client relationship included Realty.

As a result of the foregoing, Roberts, but not Realty, was a current client of Jacobs and Maddin Hauser, beginning sometime during the time period November 2 through November 8, 2012, but in any event beginning not later than November 8, 2012.

Jacobs never provided any legal advice to Roberts, with respect to the SAFE Act matter. But neither did Jacobs or Maddin Hauser ever expressly terminate or withdraw from their attorney-client relationship with Roberts, or attempt to do so, with respect to the SAFE Act matter.

Within a day or two before Maddin Hauser attorneys Leib and Bolton filed their notices of appearance for the defendants in the Savoy AP on December 20, 2012, Roberts received a phone message from Jacobs asking Roberts to call Jacobs, and saying that Jacobs wanted to discuss a “conflict.” Although his phone message to Roberts did not say what “conflict” Jacobs was referring to, in fact, the “conflict” that Jacobs was referring to was the Maddin Hauser firm representing the defendants in the Savoy AP.

Roberts and Jacobs eventually spoke to each other about this “conflict,” but not until shortly after Roberts learned of the Leib and Bolton notices of appearance in the Savoy AP.

In an e-mail that Jacobs sent to Roberts on December 20, 2012, Jacobs informed Roberts that his firm, Maddin Hauser, had been asked to represent the defendants in the Savoy AP. Roberts responded by sending Jacobs an e-mail later the same day, saying that he had seen the Maddin Hauser entry of appearance in the Savoy AP, that Roberts believed that Maddin Hauser had a conflict, and that Roberts was not “waiving” the conflict.14

14 See C to the Motion (Docket # 189).

Hannah McCollum, the attorney for Roberts and Realty, also sent an e-mail to Jacobs on December 20, 2012, saying that Maddin Hauser had a conflict in representing the defendants in the Savoy AP, and asking Jacobs to immediately advise the Savoy AP defendants to seek other counsel.15

15 D to the Motion (Docket # 189).

At no time has either Roberts or Realty consented to any attorney from the Maddin Hauser firm representing any of the defendants in the Savoy AP.

The Maddin Hauser attorneys refused to discontinue their representation of the Savoy AP defendants. As a result, Roberts and Realty filed the Motion, on December 21, 2012.

While Roberts is not a plaintiff in the Savoy AP, Roberts is the 100% owner and member of Realty, which is the plaintiff in the Savoy AP. As a result, the representation of the defendants in the Savoy AP by the Maddin

Hauser attorneys is “directly adverse” to Roberts, within the meaning of  Rule 1.7(a). And Maddin Hauser does not argue otherwise.

At some point on or after December 20, 2012, there was a breakdown in the relations between Roberts on the one hand, and Jacobs and Maddin Hauser on the other hand. But this was caused directly and solely by the decision of Jacobs and Maddin Hauser to represent the defendants in the Savoy AP, which was made known to Roberts on December 20, 2012, despite the fact that such representation was directly adverse to Roberts, who at that time was a current client of Jacobs and Maddin Hauser. As a result of that breakdown in relations, Roberts today no longer desires to receive the legal advice he requested from Jacobs about the SAFE Act.

From at least as early as November 8, 2012 and continuing through December 20, 2012, and thereafter, Jacobs was prohibited, by Rule 1.7(a), from representing any of the defendants in the Savoy AP, due to Jacobs’s then- current attorney-client relationship with Roberts.

As a result, the Maddin Hauser firm and all of the attorneys in that firm also were prohibited from representing any of the defendants in the Savoy AP, under Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.10(a). That rule states, in pertinent part:

(a) While lawyers are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so by Rules 1.7, 1.8(c), 1.9(a), or 2.2….

Mich. R. Prof’l Conduct 1.10(a).

The foregoing prohibition, against Jacobs and all other attorneys in the Maddin Hauser firm representing any of the defendants in the Savoy AP, did not end after December 20, 2012, and it continues.

The prohibition did not end, for example, because of any of the following:

(1) because after December 20, 2012, relations broke down between Roberts on the one hand, and Jacobs and Maddin Hauser on the other hand, as described above; or

(2) because Jacobs never performed the legal work that he agreed to do for Roberts, regarding the SAFE Act matter; or

(3) because, due to the breakdown in relations referred to in point (1) above, Roberts now no longer desires to receive the legal advice he requested from Jacobs about the SAFE Act.

This is so because if it were not so, it would mean that an attorney could evade the conflict-of-interest rule in Rule 1.7(a), by simply abandoning and forsaking an existing client any time he wanted to take on a new client and matter directly adverse to the existing client.

Such an evasion of the conflict-of-interest rules governing attorneys, and such treatment of an existing client, are not permitted. See, e.g., El Camino Res., Ltd. v. Huntington Nat’l Bank, 623 F.Supp.2d at 877–78, 879:

The courts universally hold that a law firm will not be allowed to drop a client in order to resolve a direct conflict of interest, thereby turning a present client into a former client.

Pursuant to this universal rule, the status of the attorney/client relationship is assessed at the time the conflict arises, not at the time the motion to disqualify is presented to the court. “If this were not the case, the challenged attorney could always convert a present client into a ‘former client’ by choosing when to cease to represent the disfavored client.” This unilateral abrogation of the duty of loyalty cures nothing, but serves to make matters worse.

A law firm is not privileged to extinguish its duty of loyalty to a present client by unilaterally turning it into a former client.

(citations and footnote omitted).

E.  Conclusion

For the reasons stated in this opinion, the Court will enter an order granting the Motion, and disqualifying Maddin Hauser and all of its attorneys from representing any of the defendants in the Savoy AP.

‘Eminently fair’ Rebecca Pallmeyer takes the reins as Chicago federal court’s 1st female chief judge

Originally Published: July 4, 2019 | Reposted by LIT: Oct 22, 2020

A college student in northwest Indiana was in the cafeteria line when a friend asked what she planned to do with the rest of her life.

“You’re going to law school, right, Becky? Because I know you love to argue.”

Rebecca Pallmeyer, midscoop of corn and mashed potatoes, did like to argue. But, over the years, she came to like making the final decision even more.

Now, Pallmeyer, who took her lunch companion’s advice and went to law school, is in her first week as chief judge of the city’s federal court. She is the first woman to lead the district in its 200 years.

“It’s really an honor,” Pallmeyer said during a break from her caseload in her chambers on the 25th floor of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. “And I think that it should be encouraging, not just to women but to people generally, that devoting yourself to a project or an institution pays off.”

Over the years, Pallmeyer’s conviction in her job has only grown.

“It’s so much more satisfying to be the one that sits and makes the hard decisions, but tries to do that in the most respectful and gentle way.”

‘Nobody is that good’

Pallmeyer, the daughter of a Lutheran minister, was born in Tokyo, but her buoyant, Midwestern-hued voice signals her St. Louis upbringing.

After studying history and the humanities at Valparaiso University, Pallmeyer coupled a love of arguing with a desire for academic structure at the University of Chicago Law School, where she graduated in 1979.

It was while clerking for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Wahl — the state’s first woman to hold the position — that Pallmeyer started to imagine becoming a judge.

The Tribune reported in 2005 that Wahl, who died in 2013, said Pallmeyer was among her “brightest” clerks. Pallmeyer’s ambition was palpable, Wahl said, and “she set her sights high.”

But Pallmeyer thought running for judicial office might be outside her talents.

“I really don’t like asking people for things,” she said. “And you have to ask people for things.”

For five years, Pallmeyer worked as an associate at what was then Chicago firm Hopkins & Sutter and then became an administrative law judge for the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Friend Richard Gonzalez, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law who served with Pallmeyer on the commission, told the Tribune a story in 2005 about how a group was supposed to go to a training session for judges in Reno, Nev. — until a snowstorm shut down travel, causing everyone to bail.

Except Pallmeyer.

“I didn’t want to fight the storm, but I also didn’t really want to miss the training,” Pallmeyer said this week, remembering the trip. “I had very mixed feelings about the whole thing because I had a small baby at home. … But it was still a worthwhile experience.”

In an interview this week, Gonzalez joked that he didn’t like Pallmeyer when he first met her because “nobody is that good.” She was like the kid you went to junior high with who got everything perfect while your science project was falling apart on the way to school, he said.

“Nobody is that smart, considerate, that nice,” he said. “But then you get to know her a little and you realize, she really is like that.”

After they became friends, Gonzalez said he and Pallmeyer used to joke about obituary headlines. Pallmeyer would say she hoped to do something notable so her headline wouldn’t be boring.

‘It’s very beautiful’

On a recent afternoon, through the windowed walls surrounding Pallmeyer’s desk in her chambers, a boat sailed across Lake Michigan’s dark blue horizon and a giant crane loomed over a sprouting building. The mammoth owls perched atop the Harold Washington Library looked up at the courthouse. No one looked down from the top of the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s rooftop slit.

To the left of her desk was a chest of collectible Supreme Court justice bobbleheads. On top of her desk was a copy of “Greek to Me” by the New Yorker’s “Comma Queen.”

“I’m kind of a punctuation nut myself,” Pallmeyer said. “And this book is great. I’m a very, very careful proofreader. And she is, too, so that’s great.”

There’s a shelf of worn books in Pallmeyer’s chambers with some titles she and her law clerks have met to discuss — “Americanah,” “Evicted.”

Outside work, when Pallmeyer isn’t reading, she might be singing in a choir or listening to choral music, making another attempt at playing the cello, going for a run, cheering on the Cubs, spending time with her family or seeing a show at Steppenwolf Theatre — “when there’s time.”

Longtime friend Judge Virginia Kendall, who appeared in front of Pallmeyer as a prosecutor and later became a colleague, said Pallmeyer is often the last judge to leave the building.

“Because when she is working on something, she is not satisfied with just the legal answer,” Kendall said. “She takes into account all of the other human issues in the case, and that makes her especially good as a judge. Because she doesn’t look at the law as simply a black-and-white book.

“I remember being in front of her on the day before Thanksgiving,” Kendall said. “And we were doing a pretrial conference and everybody in the building had pretty much left. And there she was, plugging away. And I was sitting in this conference thinking, ‘Could she please let me go home so I could start making my turkey?’

“But she was so focused on getting it done, and getting it done right, that the last thing on her mind, I think, at that moment was that anybody at that table had to go make Brussels sprouts.”

When asked what drives Pallmeyer, Kendall said: “It’s very beautiful.”

“A sense of justice,” she said. “A sense of helping those who are underprivileged and who need access to the courts. A sense of the precedent and the rule of law that defines our profession. A sense of making sure that our judiciary has integrity so that the public can have faith in it and turn to it in time of need.”

The most satisfying rulings

In 1991, Pallmeyer was appointed a federal magistrate and, after being nominated by President Bill Clinton, has been a district judge in the Dirksen courthouse since October 1998.

Pallmeyer’s new role follows a career defined by high-profile cases, even if, for Pallmeyer, some of the smaller cases carry the most significance.

The case most frequently followed by Pallmeyer’s name is the six-month corruption trial of former Gov. George Ryan.

By the time Pallmeyer was set to preside over Ryan’s trial, she had already handled the trial of Ryan’s top aide and dealt with the chaotic trial of death row inmate Aaron Patterson, who attacked his own lawyers in court. The Ryan trial was a new challenge.

“Kind of everything that could happen in a trial that you wouldn’t want to happen, did,” she said.

But Pallmeyer said one of the most satisfying rulings she made was one that received far less attention.

After Sept. 11, as schools adopted zero-tolerance policies, a third grader brought a crayon box to school — unaware there were spent bullet shells inside — and was expelled, Pallmeyer said.

“And I was just stunned that he had not been in school at that time for several days,” Pallmeyer said. The boy needed to be put back in school — and needed a tutor immediately, she said.

“I remember thinking, he’s in third grade,” Pallmeyer said. “If he doesn’t learn to multiply now, we all know what happens. If you don’t learn what you’re supposed to learn, the year you’re supposed to learn it, everything cascades on itself. And I’m thinking, here’s a kid, he’s a perfectly capable kid, and now something’s going to go wrong for him just because of this stupid accident.”

Years later, Pallmeyer heard the boy was doing fine. He made it to high school.

“The expression is a federal judge can stop a train,” Pallmeyer said. “But here was a way that I could interfere in a big way, in a small child’s life. And it was the most satisfying thing I ever did as a judge, I think.”

‘A fundamental sense of fairness’

After years on the bench, one of the only criticisms of Pallmeyer is that she gives those in her courtroom too much of a say.

“When I was a trial attorney, she gave the other side a lot of time,” Judge Kendall said. “Where one would think as a trial attorney,’ OK, this is an easy one.’ And she would listen. I think that’s her way of making sure that everybody has their say in court, and that she gets it right.”

As Pallmeyer decided whether to declare a mistrial in the Ryan trial after months of giving everyone their say, she listened to hours of arguments from all parties, the Tribune reported. She would sometimes end days by recommending a good night’s sleep for all.

“She has a fundamental sense of fairness,” said Patrick Collins, who appeared before Pallmeyer in a number of cases, including as lead prosecutor in the Ryan trial. “Every day you left the courtroom, I was putting myself in the shoes of the defendant on the other side and thinking, ‘If I ever had a loved one that had to be in a criminal trial, I would want Judge Pallmeyer to be the judge because she’s eminently fair.’

“I think sometimes smartness and experience can chip away at a sense of fairness, but it never has with her,” he said.

Corinne Heggie, president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, said she’ll never forget when she was in Pallmeyer’s courtroom and the judge excused herself from behind the bench and came down to congratulate a litigant in another case on his hard work in a deferred prosecution program.

“I had never seen it happen in that courtroom, in that court building,” Heggie said. “It was one of the most impactful events I have witnessed in a courtroom in my 18 years of practicing law.”

Judge Joan Lefkow said each new chief judge has their own personality and faces their own challenges.

“She’ll put her own stamp on the court,” Lefkow said. “She’s a very quick study.”

‘Not as fast as it should be’

On Monday, an afternoon ceremonial session of the court will honor Pallmeyer.

“I recognize that there will be a lot of attention to the position, not only because I’m the first woman but just because the court has tremendous prominence in the community and it’s a significant force. And I will be the face of that significance to the city. And I really want very much to be effective at that,” Pallmeyer said.

Even if she still doesn’t like the spotlight.

“It makes me a little nervous,” Pallmeyer said. But “I have to recognize people need to hear from the court, and if I’m not willing to speak out, there will be this haphazard way of collecting information.”

Federal law dictates the chief judge position goes to the district judge with the most seniority under the age of 65. Former Chief Judge Ruben Castillo announced on International Women’s Day in March that he would step down a year early, clearing the way for Pallmeyer.

“It’s really a shame that in 200 years a female has not been the chief judge of this court,” Castillo told the Tribune earlier this year. “I told myself there’s something you can do.”

“(Castillo) could have filled out his full term, and then the next person in line would be a man,” Pallmeyer said, crediting the former chief judge with advancing the cause of women and minorities.

There’s still never been a female U.S. attorney in Chicago’s federal court, Kendall said.

Pallmeyer said even though more and more women are graduating from law school, you still don’t see women as 50% partners in firms — “So it’s not as fast as it should be, but certainly we are making progress.”

Pallmeyer, who has two daughters, said it helps significantly when young fathers ask to take leave. “Because that communicates to the world that it’s not something that only mothers do, it’s something parents do because they care about their children.

“We tend to assume a woman with a small child will not be as hardworking as a young man who’s single,” Pallmeyer said. “And in truth we find, that’s not true at all.”

‘The opportunity is there’

Pallmeyer said she hopes to build on Castillo’s efforts to reach out to the community, including pretrial diversion programs that keep people from being indicted, as well as the reentry program for people who served their sentences and are returning to society.

She said she would like to see more school groups in the building and more people observing naturalization ceremonies. And Pallmeyer expects to face challenges, from maintaining the building to boosting colleagues’ morale.

Pallmeyer said she still misses arguing sometimes, when “the witness is wiggling a little bit,” or after listening to a rousing opening or closing statement. And “any judge who says that he or she has no regrets isn’t paying attention.”

“We all make mistakes, it’s a human process,” she said. “It’s not so much that I feel like I’ve done everything right. It’s that the opportunity is there to do the right thing in every case.”

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