In re Turner

The Vethan Law Firm represents Turner in a suit against Lopez, who is represented by Cweren. Vethan hired Wright as a paralegal to work on Turner’s case. Wright exchanged emails with lawyers, communicated with Turner, reviewed confidential information, drafted an engagement letter, and attended meetings in which Vethan attorneys discussed Turner’s case. Wright’s employment ended weeks later. Cweren hired Wright months later. To screen for potential conflicts, Cweren apparently asked interview questions based on the applicant’s resume. Wright did not disclose her employment at Vethan on her resume nor did she volunteer any information during the interview. Wright worked for Cweren on the Turner matter for several months, largely in a clerical capacity. After Vethan noticed Wright’s initials on Cweren documents, Vethan asserted that Wright’s participation required Cweren to withdraw as Lopez’s counsel. Wright denied that she had worked on the Turner matter while employed by Vethan. Cweren refused to withdraw but instructed Wright not to discuss the case with other employees, barred her from viewing any Turner files, and shifted all responsibility for the case to other paralegals. Vethan unsuccessfully moved to disqualify Cweren. The Supreme Court of Texas reversed. A court must grant a motion to disqualify a firm whose nonlawyer employee previously worked for opposing counsel if the nonlawyer obtained confidential information about the matter while working at the opposing firm and then shared that information with her current firm. Both requirements are met here. View "In re Turner" on Justia Law