Julia Morgenthau recently briefed an important case in the Colorado Supreme Court on behalf of the state’s defense lawyers. The Supreme Court agreed with Julia and Owner’s Insurance Company counsel Wheeler Trigg and O’Donnell, and disqualified Levy Law, the former longtime counsel for Owners Insurance Company, from representing a plaintiff against Owner’s in a bad faith suit.
Colorado Ethics Rules limit when a lawyer can represent a second client in a matter substantially related to one that the lawyer had previously represented another client. Here, Levy Law sought to represent Persichette against Owner’s, notwithstanding the law firm’s long history of prior representation of Owner’s. The Court determined that Levy Law probably possessed confidential and potentially advantageous information about Owner’s. To preserve the fairness of the proceedings, Levy Law was disqualified from the proceedings.
In assisting with the successful briefing, Julia argued that even though confidential client information gained by counsel from the first matter may not be directly applicable to the new matter, if a lawyer’s knowledge of any confidential and private information could advance the new client’s position, the lawyer must be disqualified. The Court notably referenced this argument in reaching its conclusion.