Miami Business Services, LLC v. Davis

Petitioner, Miami Business Services LLC (Miami), and Real Parties in Interest were involved in a joint venture. The law firm of Phillips Murrah, P.C. (Phillips) served as general counsel for Miami as well as Real Parties in Interest and their joint venture. Over the course of that joint venture, Jennifer Fogg, one of the defendants, acted as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Miami and acted as the principal in the real party in interest business entities. While COO of Miami, Fogg sought counsel from Phillips regarding issues affecting Miami's operations and for work undertaken by Real Parties in Interest and the joint venture. Miami terminated Fogg from her role as its COO in October, 2010. Subsequent to Fogg's termination, Miami brought suit against Real Parties in Interest, including Fogg, for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and civil conspiracy. Phillips entered its appearance in the suit on behalf of the Real Parties in Interest. Miami then filed a motion to disqualify Phillips, claiming that Phillips had a conflict of interest which violated Rules 1.7 and 1.9 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, stemming from Phillips' involvement with both Miami and Real Party in Interest Asset Group, Inc. The trial judge denied Miami's motion and Miami appealed. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court recast Miami's appeal as an application for original jurisdiction and petition for mandamus. In granting the petition, the Court held that denial of a motion to disqualify was immediately appealable as a final order affecting the substantial rights of a party pursuant to 12 O.S. 2011 sec. 953 and that the addition of Comment 3 to Rule 1.9 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct did not alter the requirement for an evidentiary hearing on motions to disqualify counsel for conflicts of interest based upon possession of confidential information. View "Miami Business Services, LLC v. Davis" on Justia Law