Law Firms

BigLaw partner is no longer listed on firm website after accusation of misrepresentation to federal court

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A partner at Littler Mendelson in its Atlanta office is no longer listed on the law firm’s website after a company claimed that it was thrown “under the bus” because of the lawyer’s misrepresentation to a federal court.

Littler Mendelson “appears to have parted ways” with the shareholder, Gavin Appleby, Reuters Legal reports. The law firm has also agreed to pay at least $63,000 to cover legal fees and costs to ADP, the payroll company claiming that Appleby had lied to a court about its compliance with a subpoena, according to Reuters Legal and Law360.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock of the Southern District of Alabama noted in an April 14 order that Littler had already paid the money and had agreed to cover future fees incurred by ADP.

ADP had been subpoenaed in a lawsuit claiming that steel mill operator Outokumpu Stainless USA had underpaid its employees. Littler was representing Outokumpu.

According to a March 29 motion filed by ADP, the Littler lawyer falsely told the court that ADP had never responded to a third-party subpoena for Outokumpu records. In reality, ADP said, it had provided responsive documents five business days after receiving the subpoena, but the Littler lawyer didn’t produce the documents to the plaintiffs.

The misrepresentations led the court to issue a show-cause order against ADP, the motion said. Although the judge told the Littler lawyer to serve the show-cause order on ADP, the lawyer “waited until the last minute” to inform ADP about the hearing, according to the motion. ADP was not able to send a representative on such short notice, resulting in an order for a second show-cause hearing.

ADP, which has hired Littler in other matters, retained counsel to investigate. According to the ADP motion, the company “was shocked to learn that its own attorneys at Littler Mendelson had made repeated material misrepresentations about their own client, ADP, subjecting it to potential contempt sanctions.”

Beaverstock said in his order ADP “accurately sets out underlying misconduct justifying an award” of fees and costs.

Littler provided this statement to the ABA Journal: “Littler prides itself on high-quality client service—we expect our attorneys to handle all client matters with care, responsiveness and forethought while providing exceptional counsel. While we cannot share details about our representation in any one matter, we can assure you that we take very seriously if and when we fall short of these standards. In this case, as soon as we were made aware of the concerns, our management team took immediate and appropriate action. We are working to do all we can to remedy the situation.”

Appleby told the ABA Journal that Littler had asked him not to reply to a request for comment.

“My apologies,” Appleby said in an email.

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