Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has vowed to fight an attempt by Bank of America (BoA) to boot the US firm off its $10bn (£6.3bn) litigation with insurer AIG over an alleged conflict of interest.
BoA has asked a judge to remove AIG adviser Quinn Emanuel from the case, in which the US insurance giant is suing the bank over the alleged misselling of $28bn (£17.8bn) of mortgage-backed securities it bought before the 2008 downturn, according to a Reuters report.
The bank claimed that because Quinn Emanuel partner Marc Becker previously acted for Merrill Lynch, which has since been taken over by BoA, his current firm was conflicted from the latest litigation. Becker has already been removed from the case following the bank’s objections.
Becker was a partner at Californian firm Munger Tolles & Olson when he defended Merrill Lynch against similar charges. Munger is now acting for BoA in the AIG suit.
BoA claimed Becker’s earlier involvement was a case of “flouting of the ethical rules” because it put him in a position to use confidential information about his client’s opponent.
Quinn Emanuel has indicated it intends to file papers in opposition to the court filing.
Gregory Joseph, a lawyer acting for Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters the BoA’s motion was a tactical attempt to get the firm off the case.
He said: “They know perfectly well that he would not share any confidential information, and he never did. Its motion never even addresses the governing standard – whether there is any risk of trial taint -because of course there isn’t.”
In a US District Court court filing in Manhattan on Monday evening, Munger partner Marc Dworsky wrote: “Becker’s involvement in this case has already tainted these proceedings. Quinn cannot be in a position to use defendants’ confidential information against them in the future – particularly in a case of this magnitude.”