The Continuing Proliferation of Lawsuits Naming Lawyers as Defendants for their Roles in Transaction

One conseqence of the litigation industry is that lawyers are increasingly named as defendants by their adversaries in transactions or litigation. Here’s a recent example from the National Law Journal. Many of the cases are based on "aiding and abetting" claims. Jenner & Block several years ago was unable to defeat claims of this sort on a motion to dismiss under Illinois law.; go here for the opinion.

The story line as follows for this latest lawsuit:

"Hunton & Williams has been hit with a $150 million lawsuit in Wisconsin claiming that the law firm maliciously squeezed a broker out of a contract and should pay up for the company’s losses.

The lawsuit alleges that Hunton & Williams and client Insight Equity Holdings LLC ousted plaintiff Minerals Development & Supply Co. from a supply chain agreement in which Minerals Development was the middle man. Filed in Monroe County, Wis., Circuit Court, on July 30, the lawsuit seeks punitive damages for what Minerals Development asserts was the law firm’s intentional and malicious conduct.

The Richmond, Va.-based law firm issued a statement through a spokeswoman in response to the action. "This suit was filed by an adversary of one of our clients," it said. "These allegations have no merit, and we plan to vigorously defend against them."

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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