It is always a risk to talk to the media. Here, in a pithy opinion, The New York Appellate Division, First Department upheld a legal malpractice claim against a law firm. “Plaintiff alleges that he would not have lost his contractual right to certain deferred compensation if his attorneys had not acted negligently in speaking to the Wall Street Journal, in violation of the non-disparagement provision of the contract.” The court further commented that “neither the arbitration award nor the subsequent opinions submitted by defendants unequivocally contract plaintiff’s claim…”
A qui tam case is a case in which a plaintiff, usually a former insider, sues his former employer on behalf of the United States and alleges that the United States was defrauded. The plaintiff is referred to as a “relator.” The relevant statute is the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. Section 3729, which allows qui tam actions on behalf of the United States to allow the United States to recover where the government was defrauded. In many cases, the United States takes the case over and proceeds to judgment. The individual relator is then awarded a fee for bringing the fraud to the attention of the United States.
This is an unusual qui tam action, United States of America, Fair Laboratory Practices Associates v. Quest Diagnostics, Unilab Corp., Second Circuit, 11-1565-cv, in which the Second Circuit upheld the disqualification of the defendant’s former general counsel from acting as a plaintiff against his former employer. The attorney, Mark Bibi, for several years was the general counsel for a corporation that was later purchased by the Defendant.
The Bottom Line: