Business of Law

Ogletree Fights Demand for Bill Copies to Audit Legal Work Law Firm Did for Maricopa County Attorney

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An Arizona judge last week gave a green light to a lawsuit seeking to force a well-known law firm to turn over copies of its bills for representing the Maricopa County attorney’s office and sheriff’s office during a high-profile power struggle with county supervisors.

Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart had contended in a motion to dismiss that the bills were protected by attorney-client privilege and that the audit issue should be decided by an arbitrator. However, Maricopa Superior Court Judge John Buttrick disagreed, ruling Friday that county procurement rules controlled and the issue should be decided in court, according to the Arizona Republic.

The county contends that Ogletree may have charged for services outside the scope of its contract and is contesting some $1 million in legal fees billed by the firm.

Attorney John Doran, who represents the law firm, said in a court hearing last week that the county is pursuing the audit in an effort to bolster various probes of the former county attorney, Andrew Thomas, and the sheriff’s office, the newspaper reports.

He also provided the Republic with a statement from Ogletree: “The judge’s ruling was a procedural one; it does not address the merits. And now the parties will proceed to the merits of the case as the judge has instructed.”

Earlier coverage: “Ex-Maricopa Co. Attorney Intends to Sue Former Bar President and Ethics Investigators” “Fireworks Expected: Maricopa Board Axes Ogletree Deakins, Law Firm for Sheriff Arpaio” “Maricopa County to Sue Ogletree re Legal Services Provided to Sheriff Joe Arpaio & Others” “Ex-Maricopa Co. Attorney Intends to Sue Former Bar President and Ethics Investigators”

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