Trials & Litigation

Judge disqualifies Winston & Strawn in San Bernardino bankruptcy

Winston & Strawn has been disqualified from representing a bond insurer in the San Bernardino bankruptcy, due to a conflict created by the law firm’s hire of a lawyer who formerly worked for an opponent in the litigation.

The Chicago-based international law firm had argued that the former California Public Employees’ Retirement System lawyer could be screened from those involved in the Chapter 9 bankruptcy. However, Judge Meredith Jury agreed with CalPERS in a Thursday ruling, holding that Winston & Strawn may not represent National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. in the Riverside case, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.

“No matter how good the ethical wall is, there will always be a sense that there is a fox in the henhouse,” said Jury during a court hearing.

At issue in the matter was a former K&L Gates partner who worked for the firm, on behalf of CalPERS, in San Bernardino and Stockton bankruptcy cases and was subsequently hired by Winston & Strawn.

See also:

Reuters: “Winston disqualification flap raises issue: What is direct conflict?”

Sacramento Bee: “CalPERS wins round in city’s bankruptcy case”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.