Posts tagged "Maling"

Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-202-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11800   CHRIS E. MALING  vs.  FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER, LLP, & others.[1]       Suffolk.     September 8, 2015. – December 23, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Patent.  Conflict of Interest.  Attorney at Law, Conflict of interest, Attorney-client relationship, Representation of differing interests.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 25, 2013.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Janet L. Sanders, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Thomas M. Bond for the plaintiff. Erin K. Higgins (Christopher K. Sweeney with her) for the defendants. Paul A. Stewart, of California, & Sara E. Hirshon, for Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP, & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief. Heather B. Repicky & Lauren E. Ingegneri, for Boston Patent Law Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     CORDY, J.  In this case we consider whether an actionable conflict of interest arises under Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.7, as appearing in 471 Mass. 1335 (2015), when attorneys in different offices of the same law firm simultaneously represent business competitors in prosecuting patents on similar inventions, without informing them or obtaining their consent to the simultaneous representation.[2] The plaintiff, Chris E. Maling, engaged the defendant law firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP (Finnegan), including the three individual attorneys named in this suit, to represent him in connection with the prosecution of patents for Maling’s inventions for a new screwless eyeglass. After obtaining his patents, Maling learned that Finnegan had been simultaneously representing another client that competed with Maling in the screwless eyeglass market.  Maling then commenced this action, alleging harm under various legal theories resulting from Finnegan’s failure to disclose the alleged conflict of interest.  A judge in the Superior Court dismissed Maling’s complaint for failure to state a claim under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (6), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  Maling appealed, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion.  We conclude that the simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two clients competing in the same technology area for similar inventions is not a per se violation of Mass. R. Prof. Conduct 1.7.  We further conclude that based on the facts […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 23, 2015 at 6:56 pm

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