“A pair of Southern California firms were disqualified from a class action Thursday for a striking conflict of interest: the named plaintiff in the suit was an attorney with one of the firms,” Mike McKee reports for The Recorder. “Westrup Klick & Associates and its longtime co-counsel, Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, lost their chance to press suit against Apple Computer Inc. when the 2nd District Court of Appeal balked at the class representative, Westrup attorney Lawrence Cagney.”
“‘We conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion to disqualify the firms,’ Justice Robert Mallano wrote, ‘because an insurmountable conflict of interest exists between the class representative and class counsel, on one hand, and the putative class, on the other hand.’ As class representative, Cagney was obligated to seek the highest recovery for the putative class, but he and the firms may have had a clashing interest in maximizing their attorney fees, Mallano wrote. Justice Vaino Spencer and L.A. County Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa, assigned to the case, concurred. Richard Ruben, who represents Apple in the case, expressed delight in the decision,” McKee reports.
Full article here.