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Judge Orders Ogletree Deakins to Turn over Records in Billing Dispute, But Protects Privileged Info

Posted Oct 25, 2011 8:12 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Both sides are claiming victory after an Arizona judge ordered Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart to open its billing records in a dispute with Maricopa County.

Judge John Buttrick ruled on Friday that the county had a right to audit Ogletree Deakins billing records, but the law firm did not have to turn over privileged information, the Arizona Republic reports. The lawyer who represents the law firm, John Doran, told the newspaper the judge will have to appoint a special master to determine what information is privileged. The county’s attorney, Julie Pace, said that wouldn’t be necessary, however.

Ogletree Deakins billed the county for $5 million in legal work over several years for the sheriff’s office and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas. The county has refused to pay $1.1 million of the amount, and has alleged that the law firm improperly expanded its assignments, the story says.

Ogletree Deakins had balked at turning over its records. The law firm had maintained the county may be trying to get confidential information about Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio for federal and bar investigations, the story says.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ogletree Deakins Sues Client Entity, Maricopa County, for Defamation”

ABAJournal.com: “Ogletree Fights Demand for Bill Copies to Audit Legal Work Law Firm Did for Maricopa County Attorney”

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