Legal Ethics

Mistake Explanation Privileged, Qualcomm Lawyers Say

  • Print

Lawyers for Qualcomm aren’t saying why they made discovery errors in litigation over cell phone patent rights.

Transcripts from a July 26 hearing in San Diego show that Qualcomm is asserting attorney-client privilege in the case, the Recorder reports. A federal magistrate has ordered lawyers from two law firms to show cause why they should not be fined or subject to other sanctions at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 29.

The lawyers include James Batchelder and Lee Patch of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, and Stanley Young of Heller Ehrman. They argue that waiving the privilege would destroy it in related litigation pending in Washington state court.

Intellectual property lawyer Francis Morrison III of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider in Connecticut told the legal newspaper that the lawyers are in a tough situation.

“They’re really between a rock and a hard place,” Morrison said. “It’s a very tough place to be because the client owns the privilege and not the lawyers.”

A federal judge has determined that Qualcomm committed “gross litigation misconduct” in the litigation for failing to turn over hundreds of thousands of discovery documents. He has ordered Qualcomm to pay opponent Broadcom’s attorney fees in the case. Broadcom says the amount could come to $10 million.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.